Ahold’s shareholder meeting took place in the Netherlands earlier this week and much like last year’s meeting it was an event of pomp and circumstance. The difference with this meeting was that we’ve just recently concluded major negotiations earlier this month and we were curious to hear what our company board would have to say about Giant of Landover.
There isn’t much to report it seems, or as the company would have you believe there isn’t. Nearly all of their presentation related to Ahold’s USA division was related to Giant of Carlisle, the non-union banner. Expansions, strategic moves, and branding were all sources of discussion around the stores that don’t include UFCW-represented workers. When it came to Giant of Landover, the banner under which all of us Local 400 members work, Ahold presented a quick breeze-through. The same held true for the Stop & Shop banner, the UFCW-represented division in the northern part of the US.
We’ve mentioned time and time again that the Ahold USA division, particularly that of Stop & Shop and Giant of Landover, are the most profitable arms of the company. The unionized banners are consistently out performing competitors despite the market share issues that the company alleges in each of the districts. So why aren’t there real kudos for us? We have some sneaking suspicions.
Other take-aways from the meeting that we will expand on in future posts:
- Several workers were able to speak and the company was challenged regarding their anti-union stance in the Giant of Carlisle division. The company “rejected” claims of intimidation and tactics that not only the speakers on behalf of the UFCW Pension Fund raised but also other shareholder representatives raised as well.
- It seems as though the company side-steps any mention of the financial issues related to the Martin’s banner (operated in our backyard in the Richmond, Va. area) whenever they are raised. They refused to discuss Martin’s in any detail with their year-end quarterly report and seem to gloss over it in every meeting.
- We’ve made a real impact through our bargaining-related activities and we’ve got to keep them up until 2013 if we want to secure an even better contract then.