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Letters from the Editor

Letters from the Editor
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Bob Caldwell

Archived Letters from the Editor

Spring 2005
      UFCW-1099 is not currently, nor have they ever been, looking out for the best interests of bargaining unit members at Meijer Stores Limited Partnership, Tipp City Distribution.
      Doing nothing will keep these lovely folks in charge of our contract ratification process; collecting our union dues and providing less than nothing in return (each of our first three contracts has resulted in net losses to our membership in both wages, benefits, and no concessions for working conditions unless you count “gentleman’s agreements”). Allright! Send a Union Steward to a contract ratification and he comes back with a “gentleman’s agreement and thinks he really accomplished something! Now that is what 1099 calls rep-a zen-ta-shun!
The only benefit to keeping these folks as our representation is that we keep the “right” to complain bitterly about wages and benefits and working conditions (is this really a benefit?).
      In the first contract ratification process (before my employment with this sterling organization began) a grand total of roughly twenty people voted UFCW-1099 in as the bargaining unit representation at the Distribution Center (only that many had their 90 days in and were able to vote). Apparently, the National Labor Relations Board in Cincinnati, Ohio, determined that it was in “everyone’s best interests” that 1099 be the exclusive representation for our employer, ere, I mean our bargaining unit. The teamsters were “out” and 1099 was “in”.  And every union dues paying member has paid for this decision since its inception.
The second contract ratification was “approved” by our membership after 1099 decided to “add” the Troy Store personnel to our existing bargaining unit in order to “acquire” a majority of “yes” votes. Almost every D.C. member voted “against” that contract but it was “approved” over our “overwhelming rejection” because the folks at 1099 “sweetened the pot” for the Troy people with added monies for hourly wage personnel.  This happened with an unemployment rate of around 3%, I believe. There could not have been a more perfect time to strike for better wages and benefits! So 1099 agreed really quickly! Take the leverage away from the bargaining unit, quick!
      The last contract ratification vote generated a total membership participation rate of 38%. Whatever we have here it can never be confused as being a union. We don’t even have 50% of our membership voting on their own paychecks, how much time off they get, or how much their Doctor’s office co-payments will be!
Q: What can we do about it?
Join REALUNION (then we can throw 1099 out and represent ourselves).
Q: Can we do that?
A: Yes! There is no law against belonging to two labor unions at the same time.
Q: Doesn’t 1099 have exclusive bargaining unit rights as agreed under our existing contract throughout the duration of our contract?
Yes they do. But that does not mean that we cannot represent ourselves once this contract expires! Remember, the maximum length any labor contract can be (and be recognized by the NLRB) is a maximum duration of just THREE YEARS! That means we can be on the way to self representation in less than two years people! We can shuck this stinky contract and renegotiate!
Q: What if someone “finds out” I joined REALUNION? Could that mean that I would experience retaliation in the form of getting “bad job assignments” and put in a position to work unwanted overtime, etc.?
Only if you tell someone about joining REALUNION. At REALUNION we value your anonymity precisely because of the possible negative consequences you may experience. The only way anyone will ever find out that you joined will be “after the fact” because we will have secured more than 50% of existing 1099 bargaining unit membership in the alternative union. This occurrence will result in a “petition to represent” petition being filed with the NLRB and that will force a vote. Should we receive a simple majority of ballots (of the people who vote) then we are automatically in and 1099 is automatically out as the voice for our bargaining unit. This will necessitate contract re-negotiations.
Q: I’m afraid. Could somebody hold my hand while 1099 leads me to the executioner’s table?
You’ll have to go it alone chicken little. If only 38% of the MORONS are voting for contract ratification, then they sure aren’t about helping you out in any way. But if you contact me, I’ll hold your hand while you sign up for REALUNION (
Q: I have additional questions, is there somewhere I can go to have them answered?
YES! E-mail them to !! We’ll be glad to answer all questions.

Winter 2005  Miracle On Ice!
    Just six months ago our company was struggling to make it while competing against the likes of Wal-Mart; today we are told that all categories of profits are up. Folks were saying that the company may have to close their doors (before our contract was ratified). Today every decision our company made was the right one for remaining competitive...Oh yeah...and "thanks" (verbally, of course, not monetarily) from the folks at the top. Is there anybody out there that wants a "Real Union?"
We've taken a large stride in our objective of removing our sorry excuse for Union Representation; UFCW local 1099. Now it is up to those bargaining unit team members who want a Real Union to step up and contact us. E-mail me at or snail-mail me at the address listed on the contacts page. Might as well mail in your signed form at the same time. 
     We are looking for folks at each store to spearhead this effort for installing labor friendly union representation. With the ruling of the NLRB you may solicit membership in Real Union while on the company time clock, provided you do not disrupt the company's business while doing so.
     Once again, we need 30% of existing UFCW-1099 members to sign up as members of Real Union. Once that number is achieved we can petition the Labor board for a vote. Should we receive a simple majority of votes in that process directed by the Labor Board (Not our current Union Representation!) we will then become a Labor Union. We"ll have to elect officers and take all steps needed to make us an independant Union.
1) Tells you how you should feel about reforming a near bankrupt social security program ("don't do anything").
2) They tell you who (and what) you should vote for.
3) They refuse to "get involved" when management displays a style of managing that never challenges our lazy co-workers to be productive, but instead (management) requires the few people who actually work to do double time to make up for the slackards. This fosters a work environment where union members routinely "snitch" on fellow union members for their (poor) performance. The people who should be held accountable are the mid and lower level managers who allow their pool of "favorites" to do nothing all day long. I (you) shouldn't have to do double time because management refuses to take the initiative to insist that John Doe actually works while on company time. But some of our John Doe's have trained management well. So well that they are never expected to perform any job functions at all during the course of their shift! And my union (sic! what union?) brothers and sisters get mad and tell their supervisors about these slackards. And the supervisors do nothing except they want you to get back to work. Where is your union representation on this issue? It's been going on for years.....
Real People's Union: A Partnership For A Better Tomorrow


Cincinnati, OH (May 19, 2005) - The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a formal complaint to prosecute a local union for unlawfully coercing local caregivers into paying union dues even though they had voted to ban forced union dues from their workplace.

National Right to Work Foundation attorneys last month filed unfair labor practice charges on behalf of ResCare, Inc. (Camelot Lake) employee Larry Richardson and all similarly situated coworkers employed at the company, which provides healthcare to the mentally disabled. The charges pointed out that union officials unlawfully refused to allow caregivers to revoke their "dues check-off cards." So-called "dues check-off cards" allow the automatic deduction of forced union dues from workers' paychecks.

Camelot Lake is a Fairfield, Ohio-based intermediate healthcare facility providing services to the mentally disabled.

"UFCW union officials want employees to simply shut up and pay up," said Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason. "Union bosses just want the money."

The health care workers at Camelot Lake voted to deauthorize the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Local 1099 in an election held by the NLRB in March 2005. A successful deauthorization election simply removes the forced union dues clause from a contract and ensures that no one can be legally forced to pay any dues or fees to the union in order to get or keep their job.

A few weeks after the election, UFCW officials misinformed the employees at Camelot Lake that they could not revoke their "dues-check off cards" until the window period stated on the signed card. This window period is unique to each employee and is based on the date they signed their individual card.

In the charges filed for Richardson, Foundation attorneys argue that the actions of UFCW officials clearly violate past rulings of the NLRB, that workers can revoke their dues check-off cards at any time after deauthorization, even if the revocation occurs outside a stated window period.

Unless union officials cease and desist in their unlawful actions they will face a trial before an administrative law judge in Cincinnati next month.


National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation

8001 Braddock Road | Springfield, VA 22160 | (800) 336-3600 ==================================

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in close to 300 cases nationwide. Its web address is: *