The Teamsters Local 710 Jewel Bargaining Committee met-in Park Ridge for a 16.5-hour session that went from Friday into early Saturday morning. Negotiations took place for both the warehouse and driver contracts expiring March 6.
The Union Committee first met for a few hours to go over proposals and discuss feedback from the membership as a whole. The Company expressed that they were happy with the movement the union made the last session and responded with their own large movement initially, which decayed as bargaining progressed. There are still extremely large issues that both sides are miles apart on, and the Company continues to ignore.
Some of the largest issues involve wage progression, healthcare and retirement benefits. For wage progression, the Company’s proposals don’t allow for certain union members to reach top scale pay, whereas the union’s proposals do. For healthcare and retirement, the Company’s proposals are still very well beneath what is offered at other comparable companies in the market.
The Company has the ability to change health benefits at any time, and the amount members pay is prohibitive.
The ground our members have lost from the last contract is unconscionable.
For the Company to think that our committee would consider something so much less than what we’ve proposed is unrealistic.
John T. Coli
Trustee of Local 710
As the evening progressed, issues became more heated when the Company crassly accused the Union of surface bargaining and proceeded to present a proposal that truly lacked substance and continued to ignore the large issues at hand. The Union feels that the Company fails to recognize that the success they have achieved now is due to the hard work the members have put in and the sacrifices the Union made in the last contract.
“Mark my words, we will be treated fairly this time,” Coli told the Company. “Make no mistake of the resolve of this committee. We will see movement on your side regarding the issues important to us.”
Teamsters also made their voices heard by explaining to the Company what they want as a committee to support the members, and what the entire membership feels coming to work.
All we ask is for you guys to be fair with us.
You’re not being fair, and you’re not following the contract.
Quit being petty. Appreciate us and the sacrifices we as a membership made to help you out when you needed it.
Jewel Warehouse Committee Member
At the end of the session in the early hours of the morning, the Union offered to extend the current contract if the Company agrees to have an Interest Arbitration. In that, both parties would submit a last, best and final offer and background information to an arbitrator, who would choose one offer or the other. The Company said that they would need to discuss that proposal and prepare a response.
Bargaining will resume on Friday, February 26. Any questions may be directed to any member of the bargaining committee.
Teamsters Local 710 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, America’s premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and northwest Indiana.