Local 342 members have been patiently waiting for a conclusion to bargaining for the new Shop Rite contract. President Abondolo along with the Local 342 staff appreciate your patience. Sometimes we must be willing to continue bargaining past contract expiration in order to avoid concessions demanded by Shop Rite, and to get the best possible deal. Here is an update on where we are at in bargaining for your new contract:
- Bargaining continued in January and February this year, including a session which your Employee Negotiating Committee from the shops attended. The Employee Negotiating Committee got to see first, in person how difficult it is to bargain for a good contract with all the Shop Rite owners in a group. The owners were present, but had the labor attorney for the Wakefern Co-op be the spokesperson for the management for all Shop Rite companies.
- The owners do not like to bargain with employees present, so Local 342 will continue scheduling the Committee to come to bargaining. A full session of bargaining with the Local 342 Employees is scheduled in the second week of March. Local 342 wants to finish that day-we will see.
- Big issues are healthcare insurance (management so far will not agree to pay enough to maintain the benefits), items for Part Time members such as improved hours guarantees, wage increases, and personal, sick and vacation improvements.
- Local 342 will continue to demand that all wage increases must be paid retroactive to the last contract’s expiration. This is a big issue, as management is sticking to the company proposal of NO Retro. President Abondolo tells management at each session that the owners have always agreed to pay wage increases retroactively in the past, and this time will be no different. An agreement must contain back pay on wage increases missed since the last contract expired.
- Bargaining on retirement benefits is not finished.
Local 342 has told management the contract must be finished and ready for a member vote before Easter. Members need to know that job actions may have to take place if management drags its feet, or continues to insist on concessions for health care, wage increases, and Sunday time. Local 342 still hopes to reach a deal without a strike, but members need to be prepared to take action if needed to get a contract. More updates will follow in the next two weeks, so stay unified and prepared for action. Please use the tellus email address to keep Local 342 informed about anything happening in your shop. If we stick together we will achieve a fair contract!