The New Bakery, its’ employees and union members held a townhall style meeting this evening to discuss major issues involving their contracts.
The New Bakery and the union each had a chance to present their proposals followed by a question and answer session. The biggest points of contention are pensions and health insurance.
"The biggest issue is that they want to freeze the pension and go to a 401k, but an older employee like me it is not going to be a big plus if we wanted to retire now, so it is just one of those things in contention," says Cindy Northrup a New Bakery employee.
The New Bakery General Manager, Sam McLaughlin, says the pension program is under funded so it must re-organize in order to survive. He says under the proposed New Bakery plan, workers with 25 years or more of service will get their full pension. Workers with less than 25 years of service will get a pro-rated pension and be put on a 401k plan. Cindy Northrup says the healthcare plan will be switching at the end of the year so many were concerned. McLaughlin tells us that while some people passionately voiced their opinions, the meeting remained civil.
"I am hopeful that folks went away from today and had great opportunity to really understand where this contract position is," says McLaughlin.
McLaughlin says he hopes the workers do not picket local Wendy’s restaurants again, but Northrup says there is a good possibility there might be another protest. She says it will be discussed with the union. Negotiations have been going on for 11 months and both say they are ready for a solution.
"We are hoping just to get some negotiations and get this settled and it could be equitable for everybody," says Northrup.
Both McLaughlin and Northrup say no results came from the meeting. It was simply a meeting to inform all the workers of the two proposals and answer questions.