HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » My work hours were cut in...

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 01:37 PM

 

My work hours were cut in half at the beginning of the year


MY company is profiting pretty handily though. My union, UFCW Local27, is keeping tabs on the company with a new website (http://occupygiantandsafeway.org/) as we inch toward the expiration of our contract and the hopeful expectations (and demands) for a new one. Here's their take on the state of the company I've worked at for 29 years, Giant Food:


Jan 19 2012

A fair contract shouldn’t be a thing of the past at Giant

Giant Ahold has a pretty interesting timeline under their Company History section of their website. Have you seen it?

If not, take a look: http://www.giantfood.com/about_us/company/company_history.htm

Various landmarks are noted on this journey through time–as they should be because they are major accomplishments for any company. One example that we found was that in 2002 Giant reached $5 billion in sales. This is an amazing feat and something that makes us very proud! Sadly, we discovered that we weren’t mentioned anywhere on this timeline. In fact, during the last 30 years worth of Giant’s various highlights, we have taken concessions to ensure that the company remains profitable. We’ve sacrificed in a major way but we’re still being left out of the big picture.

We’re facing cuts in our work hours with less full time employment available in the stores. Many of us are working multiple jobs to support our families. The company is clearly profiting yet our store managers tell us that they might not be able to make payroll in the stores for the week. We aren’t complaining about hard work–we just think a fair contract that alleviates the stress we’re under is long overdue. Our fellow union members with 25 years of service or more at Giant regularly tell us that it hasn’t always been this way.

We’ve been there all along. It’s our hard work that has secured the company’s success. It’s our world-class customer service that keeps our customers coming back.

Remember us this negotiation…we haven’t forgotten and neither will our customers.

read: http://occupygiantandsafeway.org/2012/01/19/a-fair-contract-shouldnt-be-a-thing-of-the-past-at-giant/


Giant remains profitable in a down economy

Giant/Ahold workers in Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia are just now learning exactly how important they are to their company, which is headquartered in the Netherlands. Defying world-wide economic problems, their Dutch-owned company continues to boom, thanks to sales and profits generated by its U.S. holdings, which include Giant. Last year in its annual report, Ahold USA reported 29.5 billion euros in sales for 2010. Its three grocery chains in the U.S. accounted for nearly two-thirds of that volume. Royal Ahold International bought Giant Food in 1998. Since then its U.S. operations have been generating half the firms volume and profits.

read: http://occupygiantandsafeway.org/2012/01/17/giant-remains-profitable-in-a-down-economy/


Thanks for reading . . .

30 replies, 5269 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply My work hours were cut in half at the beginning of the year (Original post)
bigtree Jan 2012 OP
xchrom Jan 2012 #1
bigtree Jan 2012 #2
rhett o rick Jan 2012 #3
Pholus Jan 2012 #4
bigtree Jan 2012 #5
russspeakeasy Jan 2012 #6
Pholus Jan 2012 #8
mike_c Jan 2012 #21
LiberalEsto Jan 2012 #7
bigtree Jan 2012 #11
SickOfTheOnePct Jan 2012 #9
bigtree Jan 2012 #12
SickOfTheOnePct Jan 2012 #18
unapatriciated Jan 2012 #10
bigtree Jan 2012 #13
riderinthestorm Jan 2012 #19
unapatriciated Jan 2012 #22
Chuuku Davis Jan 2012 #29
Sera_Bellum Jan 2012 #14
bigtree Jan 2012 #15
Sera_Bellum Jan 2012 #16
bigtree Jan 2012 #17
unapatriciated Jan 2012 #23
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #20
unapatriciated Jan 2012 #24
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #25
unapatriciated Jan 2012 #26
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #27
unapatriciated Jan 2012 #28
ProudToBeBlueInRhody Jan 2012 #30

Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 01:40 PM

1. the 'new normal'. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 01:45 PM

2. I know

 

. . . MANY folks out there can identify readily with this. One thing we have going for us is a strong union willing to stand up for the workers. We also have a new Labor Relations Board membership (thanks to Pres. Obama's recess appointments) in place and ready to help us arbitrate, if necessary.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 01:47 PM

3. Best of luck to you. nm

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 01:50 PM

4. But but .... Blahrg Blahrg cough "Unions Are Evil" sputter spittle

Man, I am sooooo sorry -- are there any examples of GOOD grocery stores to use in the Maryland/DC/VA area?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Pholus (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 01:59 PM

5. We have about 1000 workers left from the earliest contract active

 

. . . in addition to the other tiers.

So, we still have a good ethic of customer service which was bred into us by our previous owners whose long-past president insisted angrily to me that we were 'associates' and not merely employees. Many of us still believe that. It's that attitude that would still lead me to recommend our store. Of course, if we have any contract trouble and end up on strike, we will certainly welcome your support in a boycott.

(We always have strike talk before a contract. I can't tell if it's more likely now, or if the patter we're hearing is the normal posturing before a contract. At any rate, our union president, Tom McNutt, already threatened a walk out if the company didn't present a proposal by the agreed date. Sounds different, but maybe it's just amplified by the website. Looks like a big fight brewing, I think. Of course, I hope for the best.

Thanks, in advance for your support.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 02:07 PM

6. Thanks for the post. Best of luck to you and yours.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 05:52 PM

8. I'll be watching. Best of luck! nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 12:57 PM

21. solidarity!

We're about 18 months ahead of you, i.e. 18 months in bargaining without a contract. Now we're in the statutory mediation process required in California. I'm an officer in our faculty union and we've already held successful one day strikes on two campuses just to rattle our sabers a bit. But I think we'll go to the wire. Management has hired attack dog anti-labor contractors to run the negotiations on their side, the sort of folks whose website brags about "successful" negotiations in instances where labor took big concessions or otherwise lost ground-- they get paid regardless and so have no personal stake in the outcome. They've chosen the path of slow, obfuscate, and do nothing while the statutory process runs out, planning to simply impose their "last, best" offer-- which was their first, worst, too-- at the end when all efforts have failed. It's a cynical strategy. We'll be forced to either take it or strike.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 04:30 PM

7. A friend of mine works at a Giant

 

She mentioned a couple of months ago that this move to cut hours was coming.

She also mentioned something about the company wanting to cut or eliminate pensions under the next contract.

Heaven forbid anybody should work full time for Giant-Asshold and get paid health care or other benefits.

Which Giant do you work in? My friend is in the Kentlands Giant in Gaithersburg.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 10:21 PM

11. I used to be second-man in produce at that store before I moved down the road - Local 400

 

I'm in Elkridge now. Some pt benefits. The most aggravating thing is their ability to lower our hours by taking them down to as little as 16 hrs. a week. That happens rarely, but I'm not far from that right now.

The contract talk is just in the rumor stage right now. Usually the pattern is for the company to throw out something outrageous for everyone to obsess on. Then they pull it from the contract and you barely object to the rest of the bull in there because you're tapped out arguing the strawman. It's good to have the website this time around. Hopefully we're better informed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 06:00 PM

9. Overheard in my local Giant a couple of months ago

I was waiting in the Customer Service line to ask a question about my gas points, and the woman in front of me was complaining that her cashier was wearing a button that said "Union Shop". The irate bitty said "It's a lie - this is a right to work state, no such thing as a union shop!".

The office cashier did send someone down to tell the cashier to take off the button. When it was my turn, I asked her why employees couldn't wear union buttons. She said they could, but that they weren't allowed to wear anything that implied you had to join the union to work there.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SickOfTheOnePct (Reply #9)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 10:22 PM

12. wild

 

I'm going to ask about that. Doesn't seem right.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Reply #12)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 11:45 AM

18. I'd like to hear the answer

I mean it's true, the store can't be a union shop, but I don't see the big deal about a button that says it is.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 06:17 PM

10. Your CEO is scum.

before he became the CEO of Safeway he did the same thing Mit did. Bought companies sold off their assets and fired a lot of people.
I worked for Vons for years, it was family owned and treated their employees pretty good. Safeway bought us and it was downhill from there. Steve Burd (CEO Safeway) told us straight up he wanted to break our union (local 736 UFCW) and almost succeeded during our four month strike in 2003. Safeway has been doing this for years, they ran Dominick's into the ground and tried to blame it on the employees.
http://www.ufcw.org/press_room/archived_press_releases/2002/safewaytargethealth.cfm



oh did I mention burd was a bush ranger.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to unapatriciated (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 10:29 PM

13. exactly

 

I see the parallels. Thanks for pointing this out. I'm really seeing my job and our plights in the light of the rest of nation's problems. We're suffering from the fruits of our labor being absorbed at the top and going overseas instead of reinvested in the workers here. We're Ahold's piggybank. Thing is, we won't be much longer if they don't start treating their worker base like the successful owners did in the past. Our past president began Giant as a truck driver and never forgot his worker roots. These folks are everything we rejected back then. They should get a clue and become responsible owners invested in the plights of their workforce. That's what made us successful and prosperous in the past with a motivated population making the kinds of sacrifices and efforts that keep us at the top of our game. That's severely at risk right now,

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Reply #13)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 12:14 PM

19. I was going to mention the Safeway/Dominick's situation. Dominick's was "my" grocery store

 

at that time since they were the closest.

Good luck to you during this time... keep us posted.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #19)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 12:03 PM

22. What burd is doing to Giant and has done in the past with Dominick's is his mo.

Last edited Mon Jan 23, 2012, 12:34 PM - Edit history (1)

I found out a lot about this hateful man during our grocery strike of 2003.
He hedged his bet on his own company by selling off a large portion of his stock before and during our strike. He continued taking large bonus and stock options while telling the workers the company could not afford to give new hires the same pay and benefits that we enjoyed. The only reason for a two tier practice is to pit employees against each other, it creates an environment of fear and the opportunity to phase out those that are earning a living wage.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to unapatriciated (Reply #22)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 01:54 PM

29. Burd is the 1%

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 09:59 AM

14. Good luck

 

to you. Are you contemplating other employment to supplement this one? Can you retire with any pension?

My heart aches thinking so many 'seniors' will need to work well into their 60's and 70's just to be able to meet expenses.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sera_Bellum (Reply #14)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 10:36 AM

15. thanks, Sera_Bellum

 

Last edited Sun Jan 22, 2012, 11:15 AM - Edit history (1)

I've been cut before, and it's a bit tricky. Part time schedules aren't guaranteed or even regular from week to week. But, yes, I'll have to look for supplements or alternative work until, and if, this blows over. I'm only 51, so the pension I already have from my full-time years (locked in) isn't going to kick in any time soon (not trying to hurry 62 or 65 along, at that).

My experience is that it can be a yo-yo during these cutting times. One week you can recover hours, and the next you can lose them again. It makes it hard for some to find a regular supplemental job. The hourly pay is still good enough, though, to just hang on and do what we can to barter hours in our own store or in others.

Just an illustration of what the numbers on the outside mean to folks on the inside . . . I can imagine very similar stories around the nation. Lucky to have work, that I know.

Thanks for the words, and thanks for reading!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 11:28 AM

16. Gosh,

 

it seems as though this is done with purpose by many companies in order to make a certain number of employees 'quit'. If ones quits, the co. doesn't have to agree with unemployment insurance benefits for said employee.

Do you qualify for supplemental unemployment insurance now?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sera_Bellum (Reply #16)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 11:42 AM

17. oh yes

 

. . . let's just hope it doesn't come to layoffs or anything that puts us completely out.

I don't want to say that the company would be so callous. It isn't unheard of, though. There are about 1000 or so higher-paid workers left from the oldest contract still active. They'd like to see them go, for sure, but most are full-time. We're really stripped to the bone, as it is, worker-wise.

Of course, the thing is, as the union is reporting, the company is making record profits, yet our managers are complaining they can't make payroll. One manager told me this week that he was told to cut an additional 1000 hrs. from the budget. That's pretty severe, so, we're left wondering why they aren't investing that profit in our stores?

I'm rambling, we're hanging tight for now, though.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sera_Bellum (Reply #16)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 12:15 PM

23. You are correct and this has been burd's (ceo Safeway) MO from the start.

His main goal is to weaken the union and make it obsolete. If any one followed the Southern California Grocery Strike of 2003 you would see his blueprint for accomplishing this. The two tier structure of wages and benefits was one of the tools he used.
Tow tier pay scales effectively depletes pension and benefit funds and forcer senior employees out.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 12:20 PM

20. Behind the scenes, you'll find MBAs w charts and graphs who receive bonuses for what they're doing.

 

Your union can respond to this.

What is happening at your company follows a standard plan of the MBAs. They are trained to do exactly what they are doing.

They are hired by the executives to come in and officially tell the executives, with formal reports, that the executives' salaries are too low. They also give the executives the step-by-step plans on how to incrementally increase their salaries until the company is ultimately sold. The company has to be sold for this to work. But not immediately.

Under the routine approach, to maximize the sale price, the company needs to show increasing profits over a period of years. To show increased profits, they either have to increase sales or increase margins. Even when they cannot increase sales, they can increase margins by systematically lowering costs. Some costs cannot be signifigantly lowered. Wages can be.

The MBAs are routinely given stock options (a tax trick) which allows them to purchase company stock at a depressed price and then sell their stock at a premium when the company is sold.

Your description of what is happening indicates that your company is going to be sold. The question is "When?"

If your union can determine when the MBA's stock options are going to mature, your union can predict the sale date.

Somewhere, there are public records which disclose when large companies issue stock options to executives and MBAs. Your union attorney, who may be more familiar with labor law than the registration requirements of stock options, may be able to determine that or otherwise refer to someone who knows where such public records can be found.

What you do with the information is up to you. You have a number of options. If you are still bargaining for a contract, you might be able to negotiate for stock options with a similar maturity date. Even if this doesn't work, your union would be able to put them on notice that you are aware of their game. Bona fide lawsuits filed just before an anticipated sale date can depress the value of stock. There are other things that can be done as well.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #20)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 12:26 PM

24. What you say is enlightening except for the fact that burd did this before and after

our strike in 2003 and got away with it. This guy is scum, he quietly sold off big portions of his stock in Safeway prior to the end of our contract (when the stock was worth more). He continued to sell off his stock options during the first few months of our strike and then started buying it back at a lower price after getting all the concessions and the contract he wanted in order to weaken our union. He didn't give a damn about the Company his main goal is to break the UFCW.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to unapatriciated (Reply #24)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 12:54 PM

25. Here's where you can find some additional information re Burd et al.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #25)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 01:19 PM

26. Thanks, I'm aware of the others involved.

I used those type of links during our strike of 2003 to inform our local papers about this practice. One of the local papers got upset by my many letters and articles correcting their views on our strike, stating they amounted to spam. We were the only grocery store in town (Mammoth Lakes, CA.) and they considered our participation in the strike as an inconvenience. One paper thought we should be forced to go back to work without a contract for the public good (that is the one that considered my letters spam). Our local police department harassed us on a daily basis. It was a small town and we knew the police personally. Yet we were approached many times while on the picket line and demanded to show ID. They would run our ID's in hopes of finding outstanding warrants or tickets. I filed a complaint and all it did was make it worse.
Both my husband (15 years) and I (five years) left safeway after our strike in protest. We didn't agree with the contract and two tier system. Even tho our new jobs are not union we still support and understand the importance of strong unions. We enjoy a decent wage because of the union.

edited to add: by the second month of our strike many of my fellow employees crossed the line and went back to work. It is a ski town and unlike Southern California there are many jobs available so no need to cross the line. This made it a very hostile work place for the few who stayed on the picket line. In fact our management was fired after the strike for their harassment during the strike.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to unapatriciated (Reply #26)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 01:42 PM

27. The MSM is responsible for promoting the hoax that union workers are conservatives.

 

It might have started with the Archie Bunker show. Although it is true that there are some who have watched TV and become Archie-Bunker-type copycats or Al-Bundy-type copycats, it's been my experience that most union workers are not as stupid as the MSM makes them out to be.

Many of my former co-workers and I had good jobs as a steel workers until the super-rich got tax breaks from their bought politicians which enabled the super-rich to ship steel-worker jobs to Brazil and elsewhere.

Our entire political system is broken. It won't be fixed until we have an FDR-type President who is willing to betray other members of the super-rich instead of the country as a whole.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #27)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 01:50 PM

28. I totally agree.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bigtree (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 01:56 PM

30. My friend had his hours cut a couple years ago....

...and now unemployment is going after him because of a letter sent by his own company claiming he refused work and gave up the hours voluntarily. People are absolute vultures.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread