The Union met with management last Wednesday to continue negotiations. We discussed a range of issues and reached tentative agreements on Health and Safety and Leaves of Absence.
Management wants the right to "draft" employees
Unfortunately, we were not able to agree on work schedules. Management remains insistent that they should have the right to “draft” (meaning force) people to work overtime with no notice. For example, under their proposal a manager could approach you at the end of your shift and order you to stay an additional four hours. We have told management repeatedly that this is not something our members will agree to.
The attendance policy is a disaster
Also, management continues to insist that workers report to work when sick. We have pointed out that many workers are required to sign a document stating that they cannot work when showing signs of a communicable illness. We’ve also stated firmly that workers should not be punished for being sick. But so far there is no agreement.
The Co-op’s attendance policy is clearly a disaster. We have filed numerous grievances to contest unfair points, and on Wednesday the Co-op management presented us with numbers showing that based on current point totals, 158 workers are on track to be fired over the next 10 months. There is absolutely no way that this point system will work
As reported in the last Electric Eggplant, management proposed several contract articles in return for the Union completely giving up its right to strike during the term of the contract. The union rejected this proposal. When we informed management that our members have said that they will not agree to completely give up our right to strike, management’s paid negotiator condescendingly implored that we “educate them!”
What management doesn’t realize, however, is that the union workforce at the Co-op knows quite a lot more than management about how this operation is actually run, what the problems are and how to fix them.
UE puts more resources per member into education than any other union in the US. In fact, recently-educated stewards have already filed dozens of grievances contesting management infractions on a range of issues. And we have much, much more education planned to help members defend their rights on the job, hold management accountable, build a strong union local and communicate effectively with owners and the public.
We’d suggest that management heed its own advice and get educated on how a workforce that is treated with respect and compensated fairly actually contributes to a stronger co-op.