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From: "Reform 588" reform588@hotmail.com
Date: Sat, 05 Feb 2005


January 24, 2005


Composed by members of the UFCW Bay Area Rank and File Negotiating Committee
who participated in negotiations at the Bargaining Table with Company and 
Union representatives 

1.   The Bay Area Coalition (BAC) Tentative Agreement (TA) is superior to
the SoCal Contract and the Contract signed in Sacramento.  It is the  best
UFCW Grocery Contract in the country.

True, it is the best in the country, however, as one Bay Area Coalition
Organizer explained, "Three more contracts like this, and we won't have a
contract-we'll be down to nothing."  The question is: is this Tentative
Agreement (TA) good enough for the Clerks who live in the Bay Area and the
North Coast?

The damage to UFCW Clerks in SoCal was and is catastrophic. Damage to UFCW
Clerks in the Bay Area, should the TA be accepted, would be immense, just
not equally catastrophic.

2.   The Tentative Agreement (TA) avoids a "permanent two-tier" system.

The TA avoids a "permanent" two-tier system by installing a "pass-through"
two-tier system in most respects, including Healthcare benefits.  However,
Sunday and Holiday premium-rate pay for new hires is their straight-time
hourly rate and an additional $1 per hour premium, permanently.

"Permanent" in our industry is defined as that period of time in between
negotiations and Contracts. For newly hired Clerks, the system this TA
installs is, in fact, permanent - it endures for the term of the Contract
especially regarding Healthcare, wages and promotions.

3.  The TA maintains good Healthcare benefits for all UFCW Clerks.

The TA creates a variable level of Healthcare benefits at widely varying and
much higher costs for Clerks.  It establishes a Plan C, lasting 3 years,
half of that time without Healthcare coverage for families and children, at
a higher cost for those least able to afford it.

After 3 years Clerks will then enter into Plan B, with lower levels of
Healthcare at a higher cost than is currently the case.  Even long-time
Clerks in Plan A will be paying a much higher cost each year than ever

Long time clerks will be reduced to plan C if they do not notify the Trust
Fund in time if they are injured and/or do not work enough hours.

4. The TA maintains Employer contributions to the Health & Welfare and
Pension Plans on all hours worked, at the same rate.

True, and this represents a qualified success.  A consistent "funding
stream" is maintained but because there is a "ceiling" or "cap" on the
amount Employers must contribute, this "stream" does not fund any future
increases in Healthcare costs.  That money will come out of the pockets of
Clerks and through possible reductions in the levels of benefits we will
receive over the term of the Contract.

5.  The TA avoids an Employer-controlled Health/Welfare Plan.

True, but this proposal has been raised by Employers only in the two most
recent sets of Contract negotiations with the UFCW, here and in Denver.
This proposal was not made in SoCal, in Washington D.C., in the Seattle
negotiations, in Sacramento, in Hawaii or Las Vegas.  It is reasonable to
conclude that it was less a serious proposal than an Employer "bargaining

6.   The TA avoids the "unrestricted Vendor stocking" provisions of the
SoCal and Sacramento Contracts.

True, but it did so at quite a cost, with stocking authorization given to
the vendors who were the biggest violators of the "no vendor stocking"
provision of the previous contracts.  This amounts to a give-away of UFCW
Clerks work worth millions of dollars annually in lost wages, benefit
contributions and promotions.  A very high price but probably worth the
cost, because the language was preserved.  We will see this issue again in 3
years, without a doubt.

7.   The TA avoids extensive transfers of work from Food Clerk
     classifications to General Merchandise classifications.

True, again, due to the word "extensive."  GMC Clerks will be authorized to
work gum, candy and tobacco products in any location in the store, as well
as plastic wrap, foil, sandwich bags, trash bags, etc., diapers, and
feminine hygiene products.  A success without question, though there will be
dislocations in some stores.  Note that we have seen this issue arise in
every set of negotiations for the past 20 years; we will see it again in

8.   The TA avoids Courtesy Clerk and Meat Clerk "step-up language which
eliminates wages, hours, and promotions for part-time Clerks.

True, and we avoided a huge loss on this issue, although the North
Coast still has this damaging language.  Stay tuned for 2007  - you will see
this again.

9.  The TA improves the Grievance process, will solve the "backlog" of
current disputes while making possible a more timely and just resolution of
future Grievances in the future.

True, if it works as advertised.  We will see.

10.  The TA increases the wages of Clerks.

Well, not by much, not for all Clerks and not nearly enough to defray either
past losses or the higher costs that Clerks in the Bay Area will confront
during the term of the proposed Contract.

At the end of 2006, Experienced Food and General Merchandise Clerks only
will receive a wage increase of $10.00 per week ($0.25 per hour, if you work
40 hours per week).  Apprentice Clerks receive no wage increase and their
progression steps are nearly quadrupled.  They will receive "bonuses"
worth...well, not very much.  Courtesy Clerks receive 1 "bonus" at $0.15 per

All Clerks face a reduction in Sunday pay from time-and-a-half to
time-and-a-third, which, at Experienced Clerk rates for an 8-hour shift
totals $17.44.  So we lose this while gaining $10.00 per week two years from

Under this TA, Bay Area Clerks will continue to see their real wages erode,
a decline that has occurred annually for the past 20 years.  Quite simply,
we will be earning less, especially when measured against the rate of
inflation in the region (Consumer Price Index), and we will be compelled to
spend more of what we earn on Healthcare, among other things.

This does not define "success."

11.   There are increases in Pension funding.

True, but the future accrual rate has been decreased to a 65.% rate.  This
means it will take each Clerk 33 % longer to achieve the full 30-year
Pension Benefit of $1900 /month.  For a Clerk with 2 or 3 years remaining
before retirement, it is a question of additional months.  For a clerk with
10, 15, or 20 years remaining before retirement, qualifying for a full
Pension will now take 33% longer: 13 years of service, 20 years of service,
or 26 years of work. That does make a difference.
This Deal if NOT Done until YOUR Vote is Counted
We recommend a NO Vote on the Tentative Agreement
and Opening Negotiations Again

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