The Union and Company Bargaining Committees reconvened for negotiations with Chief Supermarkets on December 8. Last month, leaders from Chief announced on a conference call with your UFCW Local 75 Bargaining Committee that Fresh Encounter/Community Markets purchased its stores. Fresh Encounter/Community Markets CEO Michael Needler, Jr. joined negotiations to lead the Chief Company Bargaining Committee.
Your Union Bargaining Committee spent time reviewing our proposals with Needler and other new members of the Company Bargaining Committee; the Company also reviewed its proposals.
Sometimes, when companies are sold, new owners have a different perspective on how to manage the business, making unilateral change to wages, benefits, or operations, or even choosing dismantle the company completely. But, in this case, since you have the protection of a union contract, members have the opportunity to bargain over the terms and conditions of employment with Chief’s new owner.
These will be difficult negotiations. Members at Chief have made hard choices over the years in an effort to keep the Company competitive in an increasingly challenging industry. Your Union Bargaining Committee recognizes the importance of a contract that includes wage increases and affordable, quality health care, and is committed to reaching a balanced agreement in a timely manner.
Bargaining with Chief will be different than in years past. Your Union Bargaining Committee is negotiating one contract for all Chief stores, instead of six separate agreements. Chief has a new owner with a new vision. There are a number of health benefits that are now required by law – 100% coverage for wellness, no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, dependent coverage to age 26, and more. Negotiations for the Chief contract will continue on December 13, 2014.
The current Chief agreement has been extended on a meeting-to-meeting basis. For more information, please contact your Union Representative.