WASHINGTON -- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters here said it has signed its first contract with C&S Wholesale Grocers, Brattleboro, Vt.
Warehouse workers will be represented by Teamsters Local 863. Truck drivers will be represented by Local 863 as well as other Teamster locals collectively known as Grocery Haulers, New York.
The Teamsters said that, under the contract, wages will increase while allowing management to reorganize the work. In addition, the contracts protect Teamster members' existing pension and health care benefits, while making improvements for newer workers. About 50 workers will take advantage of the contract's early retirement/severance package, which includes health care benefits and cash payments, the union said.
The union said that, under this contract, C&S has agreed not to move any Teamster work out of New Jersey.
In addition, the Teamsters said they have won a new agreement with C&S that ensures that, as the company expands, job security for warehouse workers will be protected. Workers at nonunion warehouses acquired by C&S can organize to join the union without interference from C&S.
That "neutrality" agreement covers C&S operations in the metropolitan New York area, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Washington and California.
After three years, the Teamsters said they will look at whether C&S has moved into other states where the agreement should apply.
Under the neutrality agreement, when C&S opens a new facility, or takes over a nonunion warehouse, the company will remain neutral if the workers decide to organize to join the Teamsters.
If C&S takes over a warehouse that has Teamster contracts, the company will negotiate with the union for new contracts. This part of the agreement also covers Teamster warehouses in Maryland, the union said.
Kim Keyes, a spokeswoman for C&S, told SN that Local 863 was "very flexible" and "willing to try some new concepts that we use at C&S for running a warehouse.
"We worked very carefully with Pathmark and with Local 863 to arrive at a solution that would benefit the employees, C&S and our customers," Keyes said. "This was a great location, with an experienced work force that knows the unique characteristics of the Pathmark stores."
Keyes said C&S would be receptive to having more union work forces at its facilities "if we could get the same cooperation that we got with the Pathmark work force.
"We are not anti-union," she said. "In the past, we have just looked out for what's best for our customers and for C&S."