Bargaining Update July 2023

July Bargaining Update


It was a big month for bargaining! After a hiatus in June, NSM and NSLU met for two bargaining sessions in July: one all-day session and one half-day. The majority of these sessions consisted of New Seasons countering several proposals we have made over the last few months. We also again requested a response from New Seasons regarding the attendance MOU and again received no response from the company. And when we say "no response," we quite literally mean that the request was met with silence.


The biggest news is that NSM and NSLU have tentatively agreed to two articles! A tentative agreement means that both parties agree to include a proposed article in an eventual CBA (collective bargaining agreement). It's important to note that these articles do not go into effect until we reach a full agreement with the company and our general membership votes to approve it. If you would like to see the full agreed-upon articles, you can read them on our website, but here is a preview:


  • Non-discrimination and harassment: This is a standard contract agreement in which the Employer and the Union agree to not engage in discrimination or harassment based on any type of protected status (race, color, religion, ethnicity, native language, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, etc.). NSLU sought to expand the types of status included in the agreement to go beyond federal definitions and sought to include housing/economic as a protected status, but New Seasons disagreed and redlined this out. Despite NSLU insisting on this protection, in discussions it became clear that NSM had no interest in contractually agreeing to not discriminate against employees experiencing housing insecurity or financial hardship. NSLU ultimately agreed to leave this protection out of this article and we plan to address the issue in other parts of the contract.
  • Severability: This is another standard contract agreement in which both parties agree to renegotiate any article that is found to violate the law, without invalidating the rest of the contract.


We know that New Seasons published their own recap of the last two bargaining sessions, but we wanted to share NSLU's perspective too and fill in some gaps. First, we want to make it perfectly clear that NSLU was started and is operated by New Seasons employees on a volunteer basis, and that we represent one bargaining unit comprised of 8 New Seasons locations. As your everyday co-workers, we understand that time is of the essence with bargaining our first contract. Namely, we were appalled at New Seasons' legal counsel's dismissal of the amount of time that has passed in between bargaining sessions, implying that it is no big deal for us to wait for several weeks and even months before getting any sort of response about our proposals that only aim to better the lives of our members. Despite New Seasons pointing out the average number of days it takes to negotiate a first contract (465 days) and the Burgerville Workers Union contract timeline of three and a half years, NSLU and our legal counsel have set a timeline of 12-15 months from when we started bargaining. We are confident that we will be able to reach a contract agreement within that timeline as long as New Seasons remains cooperative and acts in good faith.


The next bargaining session is scheduled for August 24th and it promises to be an exciting one, as NSLU is set to present NSM with all of our economic proposals! This means that the parties will begin negotiating over all things money: wages, benefits, bonuses, premiums, PTO, leave, and more! Read on for more info about how you can attend and observe this session in a few weeks.

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