When Teamsters Local 710 began negotiations for two new contracts earlier this year for 900 Jewel-Osco warehouse workers and drivers, the grocery and pharmacy company let the workers know just how much they meant to management.
“In recent years, Jewel-Osco has seen a real turnaround, with higher profits and greater market density. They’re growing,” said John T. Coli, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 727 and Trustee of Local 710, who led negotiations for the warehouse contracts. “Jewel-Osco admitted they were doing well and that the workers were a part of that. They wanted to share in that growth and told workers on Day One how ready they were to negotiate fair new agreements.”
However, as bargaining continued on April 21 for Local 727-represented pharmacists, Osco has sung a different tune at the table. Since April 12, Osco has ignored repeated information requests from Local 727 about the company’s profitability and rates for prescription drugs, which the company claims are declining without proof.
At no point during negotiations has Osco provided data to prove any claim that the company faces financial hardship.
Yet Osco representatives continue to slow the negotiating process. On April 21, management revisited proposals from the Local 727 Bargaining Committee regarding work standards, part-time schedules, floaters and vacation time, and rejected all of them. The company offered no meaningful movement on any of its own proposals or the union’s ideas. When bargaining began, Local 727 submitted roughly 50 proposals.
Osco representatives also are ignoring past practices the company admits occur at its pharmacies but that they’re unwilling to address in a contract. Pharmacists being unfairly told to clean bathrooms, 12-month roll-offs for discipline and the necessity to have two pharmacy employees present for immunizations — management has turned its back on such practices during bargaining.
On Thursday, the Committee gave Osco concrete examples of these practices, as well as scheduling conflicts, staffing deficiencies and uniform issues. Management so far has failed to meaningfully address the matters.
By the end of the day, both sides reached tentative agreement to a three-year term for the length of a new contract. Agreement was reached as well to extend the length of time to file or respond to a grievance to 21 days from 14 under the existing contract.
Negotiations will resume on April 26. Contact Zach Frankenbach at [email protected] with questions.