NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire -11/30/11)- After a year of intense negotiations, 13 Locals of the UFCW/RWDSU representing some 36,000 union members from Maryland to Connecticut have concluded negotiations with The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) (Pinksheets: GAPTQ.PK - News) and affiliated companies who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December of 2010.
Over a three-day voting period, union members from the 13 Local Unions ratified, by a large majority, new contracts with the company. The new collective bargaining agreements were constructed in such a way as to allow A&P to rebuild and emerge from bankruptcy, while at the same time protecting the jobs, the medical plans and pensions of the members of the various Local Unions.
Throughout the bankruptcy proceedings the UFCW/RWDSU Local Unions have remained united, negotiating as one group, to ensure the best outcome for the long term health of the company, the members working in the stores and the more than 300 communities A&P stores serve.
According to the UFCW/RWDSU this agreement, while concessionary in nature, was necessary to save the jobs of tens of thousands of members. UFCW Secretary Treasurer Marc Perrone said of the deal, "While we are never happy to be in the position of concessionary bargaining, we do believe that these agreements represent the best outcome for our members under the circumstances." Perrone continued, "I am proud of the 13 UFCW/RWDSU Local unions who stood united and worked together to ensure that the new agreements minimize the impact on the lives of our members while providing the A&P companies with sufficient financial savings to help them emerge from bankruptcy."
Perrone also stated, "A&P's bankruptcy was entirely self-inflicted, as the company suffered through decades of leadership that knew very little about running a supermarket chain. While most of the people responsible for the bankruptcy are no longer with the company, we truly hope the new leadership team understands and appreciates the sacrifice our members are making to help save the companies they have served for years."
The new contracts were a condition to the financing for A&P's proposed plan of reorganization, and if the new contracts had not been ratified by the 13 UFCW/RWDSU Unions, A&P could have faced liquidation.
The new contracts will last five years and will takes effect two business days after bankruptcy court approval of the agreements. A bankruptcy court hearing on such approval is scheduled to take place on December 5.