The Local 99 bargaining team met with the employers earlier this week and another meeting is scheduled next week.

As mentioned previously, the negotiating process is much more difficult because we have no choice but to rely on video conferencing which cannot replace the advantages of meeting in person.

Following the initial proposals, both the companies and union were far apart. Because of a need to have more direct conversations to get the process moving along more efficiently, the union and the company representatives agreed to move into “off the record” discussions.

“This is where we can get into further detail to learn the reasons and to further understand their proposals and simultaneously, we can explain our proposals a little more as well,” said President Jim McLaughlin. “Having these discussions made a significant difference in other negotiations and we hoped it would here as well. We’re still in ‘off-the-record’ discussions but we are continuing the process.”

In a Telephone-Townhall on Tuesday, President McLaughlin explained to the Negotiations Advisory Committee that he was willing to exhaust this process to bring a fair and equitable contract for our members. President McLaughlin asked for patience as this process is carried through to a final conclusion.

“Negotiations will likely go beyond January 1 and we encourage members to help maintain calm in the stores,” said McLaughlin.

“Do not get frustrated or feel like we are giving up leverage,” he said. “This is a delicate process that requires people to be serious and focused.”

“We all want to negotiate a good contract for our members, one that rewards them for their commitment to our customers with good wages and health care,” said McLaughlin. “We want to bring negotiations to a conclusion as soon as we can but not at the expense of overlooking important issues that need to be addressed. Until then we will continue working with employers and we will continue to meet to achieve a fair and equitable contract for the members of our union.”

In the meantime, we send our best wishes for a meaningful time with your families during this unusual holiday season. Stay healthy.