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    After a Month, Waldbaum's Pharmacists Still Lack Contract

    A pension plan dispute is at the heart of the stalemate between employees and management.

    Contract negotiations for the approximately 90 pharmacists working at 35 Waldbaum's stores in the New York metro area have reached a standstill, with no date set yet for further negotiations. At issue is a retirement plan offered by Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. According to the union, Montvale, N.J.-based parent company A&P refuses to come to any agreement unless the union agrees to withdraw from the plan.

    "If the company is trying to force this type of unreasonable concession for the pharmacists, what does this mean for future contracts that cover other employees?" said Local 338 Secretary-Treasurer John DeMartino. "All current and previous A&P contracts contain inclusion in the Local 338 retirement plan, so will the company insist on withdrawal from the plan when these other contracts come up for renewal?"

    DeMartino added that the unionized pharmacists would "fight to ensure our members are properly covered by the Local 338 retirement plan, and are provided fair and equitable wages."

    When contacted by Progressive Grocer for comment, an A&P spokeswoman said, "It is our practice to not comment on ongoing negotiations; however, we are working toward a resolution that is agreeable to all parties."

    The pharmacists' contract expired April 1, and an extension ran out April 30. Workers approved a strike vote May 13.

    An affiliate of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and the 1.4 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW represents over 18,000 supermarket, dairy, and health care workers in New York.

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