Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Local 880 President Carl Ivka today announced that Local 880 had reached an Agreement in Principle on the terms of new three year agreements with corporate Giant Eagle and Heinen’s.

After ten joint negotiating sessions over the course of three months, the parties were able to agree in principle upon the terms of new three year agreements.  These negotiations were made unusually difficult by the need to address the added costs imposed on the employers by the Affordable Care Act.

The Agreement in Principle must now be reduced to written Tentative Agreements and signed.  This process will take place over the next several weeks.  The Tentative Agreements will then be presented to the Heinen’s and Giant Eagle members for their review, consideration, and approval in a secret ballot vote, which is likely to occur after Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 24, 2014

As worthwhile as many of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act “ACA” are, there are unfortunately a few provisions that are creating difficulty for Local 880’s contract negotiators.

We are currently in the middle of negotiations with CVS, Giant Eagle and Heinen’s for new contracts, and the ACA requirements are a big stumbling block to reaching agreements.  More Local 880 contracts will expire soon, and even more will expire in 2015. The ACA’s requirements will impact those negotiations as well.

Normally the hardest part of any negotiation revolves around economics: how much is the new contract going to cost the employer, and how much of an increase in wages and benefits must the employees have?

By far the strongest economic pressure in our current negotiations comes from the impact of provisions of the ACA which impose substantial additional costs on our employers and on our Health and Welfare Fund.

The problem is that because of non-union competition, and because so many customers shop at non-union stores, there is only so much of a cost increase that a union company can afford and still remain in business.  Employers across-the board are telling Local880 that the additional costs imposed by the ACA are much greater than the amount of money they have available to spend.

But that isn’t even all of the problem. Finding a solution to the issue of ACA related costs is complicated by the fact that not all of the ACA related costs can be calculated right now.  Even worse, they can’t even be accurately estimated.

Employers are understandably unwilling to agree to healthcare contract language today, only to find out six months or a year later that they are on the hook for three or four or five times as much as they estimated.

 The bottom line is that because of the requirements and rules of the ACA, it is no longer business as usual for companies.  That means it is no longer business as usual for union negotiations.  The result is that the hurdles to reaching new agreements are higher than ever before.

  Solving the problem for one employer, unfortunately, will not solve the problem for the next employer.  Many of the costs an employer will incur are dependent upon the household income of the employee, so the impact of the ACA will vary from employer to employer, sometimes by a substantial amount.

 This is why we don’t yet have a tentative agreement with either Giant Eagle or Heinen’s, and why we continue to struggle to find a way forward.  We will face the same difficulties in our other negotiations.

 The good news is that we are moving forward.  We continue to make progress.  We have a strong legal team helping us with the requirements of the law, and we have a strong team of professionals who understand the ACA and the regulations that implement it.  We will solve the problems we face.  Just not as fast as we originally hoped.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

by Carl Ivka, UFCW Local 880 President


On Tuesday, November 4, America returns to the polls to once again vote for candidates and issues.  We in Ohio get to vote for members of Congress and a large number of other state and local officials, a few judges, and some tax issues this year.

Voting is your voice and your power.  Choosing not to vote is choosing to surrender that voice, to give that power to others.

This is known as an “off year” election.  In my eyes, there is no such thing as an “off year.”  Although we don’t vote for a new president for another two years, nevertheless, this is an important election.  We get to vote for our governor and other top state officials; the outcome of these state races will have a direct impact on our lives.  And our local elections will have an even more immediate and noticeable effect upon us all.

 In our system of government, politicians are what I call a “necessary evil.”  They are the ones who pass the laws, who look out for our interests, and who make sure that things run more or less smoothly.  We need elected officials to make our system work.

But making the system work, and making it work for workers, are two very different things.  That means that we must choose our elected officials wisely.  Politicians all have different views, different opinions on how things should be done, different perceptions of what is and what is not important, and of what makes sense and what does not.

Many politicians are what I call “business oriented,” at least when I am being nice.  For these politicians, laws and rules that favor business owners, that put more money in the pockets of the business owners and that remove regulations and restrictions on businesses are good.  Other politicians understand that what is good for workers is good for business, and so their view of the best laws and rules and policies takes on a decidedly different look.

In this issue of the Voice, we offer our suggestions as to those candidates who deserve your vote.  We have talked with these candidates, and we have questioned them thoroughly.  We have a good idea how they think, we understand what is important to them, and we believe that they will support laws and rules and policies that will make life better for you and for your fellow workers.

Let your voice be heard.  Don't be silent.  Don't give up your power.  Vote.  And vote wisely, because how you vote is critical.

Vote for the candidates we have vetted.  Vote for the candidates who will do the best job for you.

You’ll be glad you did.