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MNB wrote yesterday that it would seem to make sense for the two sides in the Southern California labor situation to start negotiating the next contract as soon as they reach a conclusion on this one…and therefore perhaps avoid all the last minute huffing and puffing.

To which MNB user Len Abeyta responded:

All the so called “posturing” wouldn't be necessary if the greedy companies could just have a little common sense and dip into there BILLION dollar profits and shift a little of that towards the health and welfare of the employees that make those Billions for them. But apparently Mr. Pro company KC doesn't understand that concept.

I’m not working under the illusion that anybody on either side would be mistaken for St. Francis of Assisi.

But for some folks, that sort of dispassionate cynicism isn’t enough. C’est la vie.

Another MNB user wrote:

Unfortunately I don’t think three years of negotiations would help. This is something that has always happened at contract time. I wouldn’t be surprised if the negotiations are complete and all that is lacking is for the Union bosses to validate their existence by creating an environment where a crisis exists and without the members of the local standing up and supporting them in a time of crisis they would not get the contract. I think that there is a value to giving the union members a feeling that they have a say in their future and are part of the process, its unfortunate that it has to be in an adversarial way. At least that’s how it’s been since 1967.

And MNB user Ken Ferrera wrote:

My first exposure to contract negotiations came in the 1970s when I joined the family business. At that time, to me, it was very personal. They wanted more than we could afford, they had the experience of negotiating with many companies, they had full time staffs, they had the "guns", they were the enemy. It shocked me that warehouse men who had worked for the family for years and beside me as a boy, now were willing to go out on strike for demands that were out of sight. The ultimate gamble for the company was to risk business (the customers would find groceries somewhere else), loss of perishables, cash flow, and employees to give into something unreasonable and usually more than the competition (until their next contract). It was a painful, angry learning experience. Instead of working together to help a business (and their own membership) expand, they sought to trample progress and innovation.

Due to our industry associations like NAWGA and NEWDFA, I learned where to get competent negotiating help and understand industry contract trends. In those days this process happened every three years. It was soul-wrenching to cast you future on a roll of the contract dice every thirty-six months. These negotiations often lasted three to six months and key people were out of the loop for that period of time. You asked about starting up talks again immediately for the next contract. Believe me neither side wanted to see each over the table for a good while. Hence, the migration toward six year pacts

Now the irony was that as acrimonious as things got, once an agreement was approved, all the venom and fervor was purged with the flush of victory - usually from both sides. The relief of completion and abated frustration usually resulted in a peaceful, post negotiations workplace.
KC's View: