Acme Workers Not Buying Proposed Contract

Your local Acme may empty of all its workers July 10 (yes, all clerks and baggers) if union members reject Acme Markets’ proposed contract, according to Philadelphia Business Today

A vote at the Spectrum Wednesday night has union leaders bracing for confrontation as the supermarket chain offers a take-it-or-leave it contract to its 4,500 workers across Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The contract would leave workers without health benefits in a few years and decrease wages, according to United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 leader Wendell Young IV told the paper.

 If Acme enforces the contracts, employees won’t go to work July 10, when their old contract expires, Young said.

 "There's a lot of factors that will determine what we decide to do at that time," Bart Bohlen, senior vice president of operations and sales, told the paper. "On July 10, we will make a determination on what the right thing to do is for the company and the associates."

Because of non-union competitors, like Wegmans and Wal-Mart, Acme said the proposed contract is necessary in today’s economy.

The new contract offers lump-sum wage increases, introduces health-care co-pays and will contribute to pensions, according to the paper.

But the union isn’t buying. They are fighting for their wages,  benefits and union work rules.

"You have a company that's taking advantage of these desperate times, and the worst economy since the Great Depression," Young said. "And they're trying to scare our members into accepting terms that are far harsher than they actually need."

The 6 p.m. Wednesday meeting is expected to last four hours.

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