Union and Vitalant Reach First Tentative Agreements Before Company Storms Out of Negotiations

| June 20, 2019

The Teamsters Local 727 bargaining committee and Vitalant management reconvened negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement covering distribution drivers and Mobile Unit Assistants on Friday, June 7 and Tuesday, June 11.

When the parties last met, Local 727 kicked-off negotiations by proposing Union health care and fair wage increases for Vitalant Union members.  Vitalant responded on Friday, June 7 by rejecting all of the Union’s proposals and presenting its “non-economic” proposals.

While the Local 727 bargaining committee continued to press Vitalant management throughout the two bargaining sessions for a solution to the many health care concerns brought forward by drivers and MUAs, the Union also directed the parties’ attention to the uncertainty surrounding employee benefits.

Many of the benefits Vitalant workers currently receive, including health care, shift differentials, paid time off, and retirement benefits, are tied to corporate policies and not specifically outlined in the CBA.  In order to safeguard these benefits, Local 727 has demanded that all employee benefits be outlined and detailed in the new contract.  By specifying the terms of these benefits in the Union contract they will be enforceable through the grievance procedure.

“Vitalant drivers and MUAs shouldn’t wake up each day wondering if their benefits will disappear.  We must move away from unreliable corporate policies that can change on a whim and begin integrating employee benefits into our CBA,” said Nick Micaletti, Local 727 Business Representative for Vitalant workers.  “Our members deserve clear-cut and secure benefits they can depend upon.”

Though many issues remain to be discussed, Local 727 was successful in securing several tentative agreements, including one which requires Vitalant to post an updated seniority list twice per year.  The parties have also tentatively agreed to update the CBA to reflect the Company’s new name and to clean-up contract language related to direct deposits.

Regardless of the progress being made, Vitalant management stormed out of negotiations on Tuesday, June 11 when the Local 727 bargaining committee pressed the Company over the issue of employees being scheduled to work and then sent home without pay.  Vitalant denied that any such instance had ever occurred despite the Union’s recounting of several instances in which MUAs reported to work for their scheduled shift only to be sent home without pay because a drive had been cancelled.  Company representatives refused to admit the unfairness of such a practice.

“This Union will not be deterred by such antics,” added Micaletti.  “We demand Vitalant arrive to our next meeting prepared to discuss this critical issue and bargain in good faith over a solution.”

The parties are currently scheduled to resume bargaining on Tuesday, July 9.  Local 727 expects Vitalant to arrive to the bargaining session with a full contract proposal, including economic proposals.

Before the Company abruptly ended bargaining, the parties also agreed to a 1-month extension agreement that includes retroactivity on wages and expires July 31.

Teamsters Local 727 strongly encourages all Vitalant members to join the Union for a meeting on Sunday, June 23 at 5 p.m. in the Local 727 Meeting Hall at 1300 W. Higgins Rd., Suite 114, in Park Ridge.  The Union bargaining committee will be updating members on the progress of negotiations and looking to better understanding the bargaining unit’s position regarding current contract proposals.

Members with questions should contact Local 727 Business Representative Nick Micaletti at (847) 696-7500 or [email protected].

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law.  The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.

Category: Vitalant

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