Archive for Wednesday, February 11, 1998

DILLONS POSTPONES DECISION ON PLAN WITH ITS TRUCKERS

February 11, 1998

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Meanwhile, the company released information about the severance package it would offer its union truckers.

Hutchinson (AP) -- Dillons Stores said Tuesday it would delay a decision on contracting out its transportation services to give union truck drivers a chance to make a counterproposal.

The Hutchinson-based grocery store chain planned to make a decision Tuesday on the contract with Dallas-based Transport Industries Inc.

But the Teamsters Union asked that the decision be delayed until its representatives in Washington could analyze the financial information provided by Dillons.

Dillons delayed its decision for two days.

``As we have told the union many times, we will consider any counterproposal the union may offer,'' said spokesman Dennis Gaschler.

Chuck Mosqueda, president of Teamsters Local No. 795, said he was glad for the delay, but he thinks Dillons already decided to contract with Transport Industries.

Dillon Stores announced Jan. 27 that it planned to get out of the trucking business and would contract for transportation services, giving employees a chance to buy Dillons trucks and become independent operators with Transport Industries. But the union has fought that decision, saying it would leave employees without company-provided benefits.

A spokesman for Lake Success, N.Y.,-based Transervice Lease Corp. confirmed Tuesday that the company was considering whether to assume transportation services for Dillons. That could be an opportunity for Transervice to hire the Dillons employees, the spokesman said.

But Dillons has refused to consider talking with Transervice, Mosqueda said Tuesday.

``Dillons hasn't opened that door to allow the bid,'' Mosqueda said. A spokesman for Transervice Lease Corp. said he could not comment.

But Gaschler said Tuesday that Dillons has had no contact with the New York company.

Both the union and Dillons have accused each other of unfair labor practices. On Tuesday, the National Labor Relations Board received a complaint filed by Dillons claiming the union refuses to negotiate regarding the transportation unit. The union filed a similar complaint against Dillons on Jan. 29. Both complaints are under investigation.

Mosqueda said the union, which also is trying to negotiate contracts for about 430 other Dillons employees, has always been willing to negotiate.

``How can they grant me a request for an extension and say I'm not negotiating?'' Mosqueda asked.

Gaschler said Dillons wants to return to negotiations so the company and the union can agree on a severance package for Dillons transportation employees. Dillons released the terms of the severance package Tuesday evening. It includes medical benefits through June, a week's worth of pay for every full year of service, up to 52 weeks of contributions to the pension fund for anyone within a year of retirement, pay for unused vacation, $1,000 for training, and a 25 percent discount to employees who want to buy a Dillons semi truck.

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