PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., July 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Food and
Commercial Workers Locals 1776 and 1360, representing workers in super market
chains owned by SUPERVALU today was notified that the workers employed in the
former Shop 'n Save stores in suburban Philadelphia won a significant victory.
The stores are located in Trooper, Hatfield and Yardley. The workers in the
Yardley store are represented by UFCW Local 1360. Wendell W. Young, III, the
President of UFCW Local 1776 said: "They will have their contract upheld, and
SUPERVALU must honor the Contract with Local 1776, requiring any company that
purchases the stores to offer employment to the workers laid off at Shop 'n
Save, and to assume the contract that exists, guaranteeing them their wages
and benefits and all other conditions contained in the document." Clay
Bowman, President of UFCW Local 1360 agreed and went on to say that: "This win
for the workers is significant and substantial, and sends a direct message to
companies that operate based solely upon corporate greed, that the people do
have power, and are not afraid to stand up and fight for their rights."
Federal Magistrate Judge, Jacob P. Hart, acting in the capacity as an
Arbitrator in this matter agreed with the Union and ordered SUPERVALU that
they "[S]hall not sell, transfer, convey or assign any store covered by the
Shop 'n Save collective bargaining contract without first securing agreement
of any successor to assume the Shop 'n Save collective bargaining
agreements " The Judge went on to say that this order shall also apply to
anyone that the current purchaser may assign the stores to under a separate
Young and Bowman said that while the victory at Shop 'n Save was an
important one, and they are pleased by it, they are still not satisfied that
the workers at Laneco, the other company owned by SUPERVALU and part of this
action, did not share in the victory. The Judge ruled that the grievance
against Laneco was denied, thus allowing those stores to be sold without the
people and the contract that protected them. Young stated: "This is a
terrible example of how property rights mean so much more than human rights in
this country. The leases on the buildings are held sacred, while the company
decides to simply ignore the contract securing the people's jobs."
Despite the contrary ruling on the Laneco sale, Mr. Young felt that this
battle, first in the Federal Courts, and then before Judge Hart, was
necessary, and the great win against SUPERVALU was important for a number of
reasons. First, it demonstrates that the protection of a contract is
important, and that companies cannot simply run away when they want to avoid
their obligations. It demonstrates the resolve of the Union, in that while
difficult, the Officers, Staff and Members were committed to do what was right
for those affected by these destructive actions. And it will send a message
to others who wish to do the same that they will be in for a tenacious fight
if they attempt to avoid their obligations to the workers.
Secondly, it assists UFCW Local 1776 in its long battle against Governor
Ridge's attempt to privatize the PLCB Stores, destroying thousands of good
jobs in Pennsylvania. This victory over SUPERVALU demonstrates that the Union
has been right in fighting to protect the successor and assigns language in
the PLCB contract. This language does in fact mean something, and it is
something vital to the jobs and lives of the members.
This win will also help in the Union's fight against other employers that
may try and avoid the contracts that they have with their workers,
specifically the potential fight with Super Fresh Markets, over the proposed
sale of its Lansdowne Store to Giant of Carlisle Super Markets. The language
in the Super Fresh contract is similar to that in the Shop 'n Save contract.
This victory over SUPERVALU will be the catalyst and precedent to go on to
fight to make sure that all employers honor the contracts to which they affix
Wendell Young finished by stating that the fight to help the displaced
workers is not yet over, and that the Union will continue to work on their
behalf, negotiating severance packages, enforcing the provisions of the
contract that provide for such benefits, and in other ways that can create and
ensure jobs for years to come.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union represents over
1.4 million workers nationwide in the retail food, food processing, health
care and service industries.
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SOURCE UFCW Local 1776