MOKENA, IL | The Teamsters Local 710 Bargaining Committee for Jewel has met three additional times with little progress made.
“To say that I am ‘disappointed’ would be an understatement,” said Secretary-Treasurer Mike Cales. “Many of our core issues remain untouched. There is still a lot of work to be done to get an agreement that is fair and equitable to all our members. Local 710 will not support a contract that further divides our members.”
The unresolved core issues include (but are not limited to) improvements to healthcare, reducing the constant mandating of overtime and sixth-day work, and the use of third-party workers. The first two days of bargaining also continued to ignore bridging the gap between “top of scale” employees and those going through progression and new hires – the company actually sought to make that gap wider in their initial proposals.
“We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in very little time,” said Cales. “At the rate we’re going – 13 times sitting down with the employer with no progress – I’m not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel at this time that doesn’t involve some kind of action from the membership and the Local. This employer needs to make some serious movement on our core issues, and fast.”
Jewel’s latest proposals include:
- Keeping the gap between top of scale employees and those in progression status quo
- Continuing the use of third-party workers with only a 1% decrease in the amount utilized per year
- Retaining the same expensive healthcare plans with high deductibles & out-of-pocket costs
- No increases to the already limited retirement benefits
- No changes to the division between the heavy & light 80% workers
- Increased discipline for drive cam
- Continued refusal to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday
Local 710’s latest proposals focus on:
- Increasing the amount of employees designated as a “Heavy 80”
- Continued reduction of the percentages of third-party workers allowed to be utilized and restrictions on when they can be used
- Improving members’ work-life balance with regard to the handling and amount of mandated overtime and 6th day work
- Improving healthcare through the Local 710 Health & Welfare Fund
- Increases to 401(k) contributions
- Reigning-in the employer’s excessive issuance of discipline, as well as more clearly defining and improving that process
- Improvements to productivity requirements
The employer has also begun posting their own bargaining updates on the bulletin boards at the facilities which give their own synopsis of the progress during the negotiations, employing scare tactics regarding loss of healthcare in the event of a strike and detailing misleading “proposals” of their own on benefits they originally wanted struck from the contract.
“We’re not here to bargain on our bulletin boards,” said Cales. “While Jewel has every right to communicate with their employees, the way they are doing so is downright insulting.”
There is only one more bargaining session scheduled before the contract expires at 11:59 pm on March 6, 2021. Members should keep an eye on the bulletin boards and talk to your stewards for updates and information on what the Local will do once the expiration is reached.