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Piggly Wiggly supermarkets in Wisconsin agree to settle numerous NLRB cases and keep Sheboygan store open

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In a series of settlements with the NLRB, a Wisconsin supermarket chain has agreed to solve all outstanding cases with the agency by signing collective bargaining agreements with the union representing its employees, reinstating discharged workers, providing about 500 employees a total of more than $570,000 in backpay, and keeping open a store that had been slated for closure.

The settlements signed by Piggly Wiggly Midwest, LLC, based in Sheboygan, resolve cases involving six stores that began in 2009 and were in various stages of litigation. As a result, the parties agreed to seek dismissal of a case pending in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Piggly Wiggly agreed to drop its opposition to the enforcement of a Board order in another case.  A third set of cases scheduled for trial were resolved by a formal agreement that requires approval by the Board in Washington.  A fourth set of cases still under investigation were withdrawn.

The employees, represented by UFCW Local 1473, agreed to accept a reduced amount in bargaining-related backpay to facilitate the employer’s agreement to keep the Sheboygan store open.

The outcome was made possible by the hard work of NLRB Region 30 field examiner Amanda Bahnson, attorneys Angela Jaenke, Renée Medved and Andrew Gollin, Compliance Officer Richard Neuman, and Deputy Regional Attorney Percy Courseault, and by the diligence and good will of UFCW Local 1473 president John Eiden and Piggly Wiggly Midwest owner Paul Butera.

Charges against the employer included bad faith bargaining, making unilateral changes to wages and working conditions, unlawful discharges, and an unlawful attempt to promote a decertification petition. In May, the NLRB Regional Office in Milwaukee obtained a federal court injunctionordering the Sheboygan supermarket to restore full-time status and health insurance to employees whose hours were reduced to part-time without bargaining.

The settlements were reached by the parties on August 31; the formal agreement is pending approval by the Board.

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