Acme Union Avoids Strike, Extends Old Contract

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBC10.com

    There won't be a strike by Acme Markets employees, at least not for the next few months.

    Acme union members in Pennsylvania voted to extend their old contract until August 30 during a meeting Sunday night at Temple University's Liacouras Center. With the old contract now extended, the company won't be able to terminate it until September 30.

    While the strike was avoided, the union members also voted down the company's current contract proposal.

    There has been "very slight" progress in contract negotiations between Acme and the union despite more than a dozen sessions since last month, according to Wendell W. Young, IV, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776.

    Young said the big issues -- raises, health benefits and pensions – remain major sticking points.

    Union workers have gone more than 2 years without a contract extension. Young said workers have not had a raise in over 7 years, their health fund is in danger of running out of money, and the company is underfunding pensions.

    Acme has said that Local 1776 healthcare costs are higher than costs for other union locals that represent Acme workers in other states, according to reports.

    Back in April, Acme and Local 1776 agreed to a 60-day period for negotiations after Acme had threatened to terminate the contract.

    Acme, whose parent company is New Albertsons Inc., operates 110 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The grocery-store company employs 10,000 people.

    Local 1776 represents some 2,900 Acme workers in Pennsylvania.