Jewel, Dominick’s in talks with union in Chicago

By Becky Yerak
Posted June 23, 2010 at 4:09 p.m.

Jewel and Dominick’s, two of the Chicago area’s biggest grocery chains, are in negotiations for new contracts for their Chicagoland stores with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

“While much progress has been made, we’re still working through wage and a few final language issues,” Local 881 says on its hotline about labor talks with Dominick’s. “We have several meetings scheduled in June and hope to resolve the negotiation issues soon.”

It didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.

Local 881 posted a letter on its Web site updating members on its labor talks.

The letter noted that “pension funding has been a significant factor in the course of negotiations.”

“The nation’s economic downturn and major losses in the stock market in 2009 created a funding dilemma due to the Pension Protection Act of 2006 that requires pension plans to be funded at specific levels,” the letter said. “Progress is being made in these areas; however, the status of Dominick’s contract talks has been a complicating factor with Jewel. The company is holding off slightly as they wait to see the outcome of Dominick’s negotiations over wages and benefits.”

Meanwhile, Dominick’s said its efforts to line up possible replacement workers are part of a “standard operating procedure” for contingency plans in case a strike occurs.

“It’s standard operating procedure that we send a notice to all divisions as a heads-up to see what resources are available,” the Dominick’s spokeswoman said.

“It’s purely routine.”

Dominick’s, she said, hopes for a “good outcome.” She couldn’t immediately say when the contract expires.

As for Jewel, “contract negotiations between Local 881 and Jewel are ongoing,” Local 881 says on its hotline. “While much progress has been made, we’re still working through wage and health care issues.”

Jewel said its contract with the union expired in January, and it’s currently operating under an extension.

“Our negotiations are progressing and we look forward to reaching agreement with the union,” a Jewel spokeswoman said.

Here’s a link to Local 881’s online update about its talks with the two grocers.

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  1. George June 23, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    There must be jobs-a-plenty in Chicagoland for these people to, perhaps, go on strike. I was wondering, can someone pay their mortgage on strike pay or an unemployment check?

  2. position June 23, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Several years ago my next door neighbor, who belonged to a union, was laid off temporarily while his company went on strike. His trash did not get picked up because he didn’t pay his most recent bill and the trash company thought he was on strike. He explained to the trash company that no, he was laid off and not due to the strike. His trash service was reinstated.

    It just goes to show that companies have no patience with those that don’t pay their bills due to them being on strike. Being laid off is one thing; going on strike is another.