Bargaining Update Feb 2024

The bargaining team met with the company on February 21st and 22nd to negotiate the collective bargaining agreement. 


Most time was spent trading counter-proposals on a package deal of 4 articles that would exchange the right to strike while the contract is in force for the right to just cause for discipline and termination, expanded rights of union stewards, and a fair grievance and arbitration procedure.

Just cause is a legal framework that protects members from unfair discipline, including requiring substantial evidence and progressive discipline. Disagreement arose in negotiations around the company asking for “defacement” to be exempt from the progressive discipline principle. When asked for examples of “defacement”, store manager Cody Jorgensen cited several examples of phrases written amongst the stickers that make up the Seven Corners snake, a piece of art on the walls of the freight elevator made by workers of the store over the last 20 years. NSLU maintained that allowing employee artistic expression is invaluable to company culture, and proposed narrowing the article’s language to disallow only egregious and offensive defacement.


Preceding this week’s bargaining sessions, the NSLU bargaining team had sent the company a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding exceptions to “time in role” requirements for employees applying for positions at new stores. The MOU would have allowed the company to continue the historical practice of granting employees the ability to apply for positions despite not having fulfilled the time in role requirement of their current position. The company did not counter this proposed MOU and instead on Thursday proposed a package of interim agreements regarding the internal hiring policy, vaccination requirements, automatic application of PTO, blue slip procedure, and dress code rules. NSLU outright rejected this proposal, as it did not address the hiring practice issues brought up by NSLU, and unnecessarily groups them with random concepts NSLU has already presented proposals on.

One tentative agreement for the contract was reached between NSLU and NSM: an article on Union Communication Boards! This article requires the company to provide a bulletin board for union use at each union-represented location. The article outlines what content is allowed to be posted on the board and who is allowed to post to and maintain the board. It also specifies that the company’s communication venues are not to be used for union business.

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