Negotiations at Heritage Manor are progressing slowly. The last time we met, the Employer offered an economic package that would result in substantive raises for some and not for others, as well as reducing the length of the current wage scales down to 10 years. Our response to the Employer was that this proposal was unacceptable for a number of reasons. First was that the market comparative data they were using wasn’t accurate for the Iron Range area. This means that what the Employer thought was the average wage for the area was not at all in the ballpark of what is currently being paid by their closest competition. We presented the Employer with wage scales from several long-term care facilities in the area that showed wages for Laundry, Housekeeping, Dietary, Maintenance and other non-nursing departments were significantly higher than what the Employer’s current offer represents. We also, again, told the Employer that we value current employees and need to see incentives and wage increases that recognize this. The current employees are the ones who will be training the employees of the future, and we expect the Employer to recognize this. The response from the Employer was that they understood what we told them and would have to look at the data we provided to them before offering a response. We will be meeting again the week of Thanksgiving, and hope to see an economic proposal from the Employer that addresses our concerns and prioritizes the employees that have helped them for last three years through a pandemic and myriad other challenges.
The workers and the Employer were able to come to some critical agreements in the last sessions, particularly around the grievance procedure. This means that the contract, when it is settled, will be enforceable up to and including arbitrating disputes. The grievance procedure is so important that it has been the primary topic of discussion since April. While it took a long time, the bargaining committee won a lot of necessary improvements from the Employer’s initial offer, including more time to investigate contract violations, the option to go to mediation over disputes, and better language around filing group grievances. The grievance procedure is the most important tool for defending the rights workers won in their election and in their contract, so we are all very happy to have acceptable language around that at last.
The committee also got agreements around health and safety language, conflict resolution, pay procedures, and no strike. Another big piece is the agreed-to language about meetings. Not only will workers now have an opportunity to raise issues at monthly meetings, there will be quarterly meetings where workers can bring issues directly to district-level management. There will also be quarterly meetings with shop stewards, Union representatives, and the Regional Manager in order to discuss issues at the workplace. Workers fought very hard to get this language, and these communication improvements will hopefully help address issues that led Half Price Books workers to organize.
The next big piece of the contract to address is seniority. In Union contracts, layoffs are usually decided by seniority, but the Employer feels that the process they used during the early days of the pandemic are sufficient. Workers strongly disagree, and feel there was no consistency in the layoff process. The Union committee has formally requested information around that, and at this point the Employer has refused to provide complete information, only a list of names and an example rubric used by managers. The only thing this has shown so far is that the company was, at best, flippant about the layoff procedure during the pandemic. The Employer must provide this information under the law, and the Union will see to it that we are bargaining with all the facts in front of us.
The language in a first contract takes a long time to settle, and we hope to soon move on to economics (pay and benefits). However, it is crucial that the language in this first contract be strong language to protect workers, because if we allow weak or harmful clauses in now, they will be difficult to fix in the future. Thank you to all Half Price Books members for your patience while we build a strong foundation for many contracts to come.
Remember, none of the contract language is final until it is voted on and accepted by the workers, but for now the tentative agreements cannot be changed by either side.
Our next bargaining session is October 4, 5, and 6, and we have dates scheduled for November and December.
UFCW 1189 members at Lunds & Byerlys overwhelmingly ratified the tentative agreement reached with their Employer on August 18, 2022. For specific details on wage increases and other improvements, click here. Thank you to the bargaining committee members Mariah Haney, Deb Pabarcus, Terry McMullen, Terry Hoffmann and Kim Madigan for the many long hours and hard work to reach this agreement for all members. Congratulations!
A tentative agreement has been reached with LFHI. Click on the links below to read the details of the fully-recommended agreement, which includes improved language changes, wage increases, health and welfare contributions from the Employer, and increased 401a contributions.
A ratification vote will be held in each store breakroom (Downtown, Highland Park, Roseville, White Bear Lake and Woodbury) on Thursday, August 18, 2022 from 6-8 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. as well as 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the Union hall. Members can vote at any location convenient to them.
Bargaining with Lunds and Byerlys continued today. The parties are very close to an agreement, but unfortunately the Employer refuses to move away from some remaining attempted takeaways. The Union committee is in full agreement that some of these language changes could be damaging to the quality of jobs at Lunds well into the future and the workers are committed to opposing these changes.
Bargaining will resume tomorrow, 8/5, at 9 AM.