Kmart workers vote on contract

NORTH JACKSON – More than 200 members of United Auto Workers Local 1112 who work at the Kmart Distribution Center in Bazetta voted Sunday afternoon on a proposed three-year contract. Results will be released today and posted on tribtoday.com.

Before the vote at the union hall, Glenn Johnson, Local 1112 president, said, ”The workers will be voting on a proposed agreement with Kmart Corp. We will discuss the agreement with the members and answer any questions they may have before opening up the polls to vote on the proposed agreement. We hope to have everything resolved.”

Workers leaving the 1112 Union Hall declined comment, referring questions to Johnson, but some did indicate they hope to have a new contract agreement soon.

Johnson said during the past two months talks have continued between both sides and appear to be moving in the right direction with items from the membership being addressed. Johnson said the leadership has heard from the membership and have reached the proposed agreement being voted on Sunday.

Johnson said vote was internal Sunday only between team members and the leadership with details about the contract to be released publicly today after all employees have been notified first. The union represents 220 members who work at the distribution center at 541 Perkins Jones Road NE in Bazetta, he said.

The current contract expired Sept. 2, with workers remaining on the job, working under terms of the old contract on a day-to-day basis as talks continue. On Sept. 4, United Auto Workers Local 1112 members voted to give negotiators authorization to call a strike if necessary.

Johnson had said about 98 percent of the workers who voted did so in favor of authorizing a strike if needed. He had said negotiations are ongoing and the strike authorization does not mean workers plan to strike, but will be used as a tool should contract talks stall.

In late August, union members voted down a new contract proposal, with more than 150 opposed the proposed pact. The union has not said why workers voted against the proposed contract, nor have they revealed what issues are on the table.

He said the union members have continued to work under their current three-year contract with Kmart parent company Sears Holdings.