UFCW LOCAL 342 UPDATE: KING KULLEN/WILD BY NATURE SALE TO AHOLD/STOP & SHOP
MEMBERSHIP MEETING SCHEDULED
Local 342 has been speaking both to King Kullen and Stop & Shop labor relations executives every day since these companies announced the sale a week ago, including speaking to Stop & Shop executives over this past weekend. Local 342 gave its position to both companies in writing: All Local 342 members in King Kullen/Wild By Nature must keep their jobs, have their King Kullen/Wild By Nature seniority recognized, and keep what they have now if a sale is concluded. The sale of King Kullen/Wild By Nature is NOT concluded as of Monday, January 14, 2019. Stop & Shop does NOT own King Kullen/Wild By Nature.
LOCAL 342 HAS SCHEDULED A MEETING FOR THIS WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16TH.
Location: Uniondale Marriott
Time: 6PM start time
PLEASE NOTE: Local 342 would appreciate it if people who already have specific questions would email them through the “Tellus” email on the Local 342 website in advance of the meeting. This will help us to know what members would like to discuss Wednesday night at the meeting.
Please remember it has only been one week since the announcement that Ahold Delhaize, a Dutch company, intends to purchase King Kullen, so there is very little information as to what is actually going to happen. President Abondolo wants to be able to give members truthful answers to their questions and concerns, and we will do our best at the Wednesday night meeting.
IMPORTANT THINGS WE CAN REPORT RIGHT NOW
- The Local 342 contract with King Kullen/Wild By Nature is in effect. King Kullen will continue to follow it and must follow it under federal labor law.
- The current government shutdown has delayed any sale of King Kullen! The government agency that reviews these type of sales, and may have the legal right to approve the sale or stop it, is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Although the corporate attorneys of both companies have submitted paperwork to the FTC for approval of the sale, the FTC has been completely closed since the shutdown. You can check that out yourself by typing in “FTC” on your Internet browser, and clicking on the official government website. In the top left corner on the FTC homepage they state clearly that they are closed. The sale cannot conclude without the sale clearing this federal government review process. Even if the government reopens tomorrow, the closed agencies with take about a week to get back to normal. So as long as the shutdown continues, the sale will not conclude.
- Neither Local 1500 or Local 342 have any information on what stores, if any at all, might be closed by Stop & Shop. Local 342 will not have any information on any possible store closing that might happen in the future until the government looks at the sale. If Stop & Shop closes any store, Local 342’s position is that the company cannot lay anyone off, and the King Kullen/Wild By Nature members would be transferred to a close Stop & Shop store. Again, we do not know which stores, IF ANY, might close because it is too early to tell.
- Local 342 has proposed to Stop & Shop that they keep the current KingKullen/Wild By Nature contract in place until it expires in October. President Abondolo believes this would be the least disruptive way to go for the King Kullen/Wild By Nature members. We have not received an answer to this proposal, although the Stop & Shop executives took this seriously and did not reject it as yet.
- The Successorship language in the King Kullen/Wild By Nature contract protects you. It states that if the buyer (Stop & Shop) does not honor the legal obligations that King Kullen has to the Local 342 membership in King Kullen/Wild By Nature under the contract, the King Kullen has to pay you. This is not a “fire sale” in a bankruptcy situation like A&P was, so legally King Kullen owners must honor the Successorship clause. Local 342 will enforce it, and both companies know this. President Abondolo has told both companies he doesn’t care which company pays you what you are owed, but somebody is going to.
In closing, President Abondolo and the entire staff of Local 342 knows that our members are nervous, and some possibly frustrated, that there is not much specific news concerning this sale. Local 342 is all over this situation every day, and the Union attorneys are watching it too. The government shutdown will continue to delay information available, and affect decision making by the company management of both companies. When the government reopens we expect things will start to move on this announced sale. In the meantime, all King Kullen/Wild By Nature Local 342 members need to continue to work as per normal, and call your Union Representative or send an email message through the “Tellus” email with questions and concerns. Our members in King Kullen/Wild By Nature are top priority, and Local 342 will pass on new information as we get it. If we stay strong and united we will get through this.