Monday, December 1, 2014


YOUNGSTOWN RETIREES CHRISTMAS LUNCH - DECEMBER 9TH - Come celebrate the holidays with a great meal plus plenty of fun and fellowship, as the Youngstown Retirees group gathers for their annual Christmas luncheon. Join us at Cafe 422 in Boardman on Tuesday, December 9th at 1pm. Don't forget to RSVP - contact Karen at (330) 502-2103 to reserve a spot, or if you have any questions.

ASHTABULA COUNTY RETIREES - The Ashtabula County AFL-CIO Retirees Council is looking to expand their membership.  As the local affiliate of the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans, the council works closely with the AFL-CIO.  Some of the activities they take part in include election campaigning, demonstrations, and assisting in organizing efforts.

The Ashtabula County AFL-CIO Retirees Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month at 10:00 am at the Ashtabula Transportation Garage, located at the northeast corner of Routes 11 & 20.  Our next meeting is December 9th - offering you an opportunity to get involved and help make a difference, and perhaps some new friends as well.  Your support and involvement is strongly encouraged.  Please contact Wally Kaufman at 440-474-0098 with any questions.

LOOKING FOR HEINEN'S RETIREES - If you haven't already, it's time to join our Retiree Club! The club was formed over 30 years ago , and currently our meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month, beginning at 11:30am at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 8667 Shepard Rd. Macedonia,  OH 44056  (at the corner of St. Rt. 82 and Shepard Rd.

We enjoy a delicious lunch at noon prepared by members of the club, and have various outings during the year, a picnic, a bus trip, plus anniversary and Christmas luncheons. All Heinen’s Retirees are welcome, and we hope to see you very soon!  For more information, please call Wilma Krych 330-654-3987

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.