September 30, 2003
We are disappointed with the result of today's Local 655 vote but still hopeful that we will be able to avoid a work stoppage. While we respect our associates' positions, this is a fair agreement recommended by the Union leadership. This is our best and final offer.
After more than six months of negotiations, compromises were reached on both sides. The resulting contract contains many of the elements our associates said were important to them and to their families.
There is no medical premium co-pay. The Companies still pay 90 percent or more of healthcare benefits. The agreement includes more guaranteed full time jobs; a cash bonus; pay raises in the second, third and fourth years; the addition of sick days; enhanced vacation flexibility and more.
Our associates work hard for our customers each day, and they deserve the best we can offer. This is what we have delivered. In total, this compensation plan is the best in St. Louis and among the best in the Midwest. In addition, this agreement will help to provide long-term job security for our associates by ensuring that we remain as competitive as possible in the years to come.