Bloomingdale’s, Union Reach Tentative Deal

Health care issue still outstanding, but possible strike called off.

NEW YORK The management of Bloomingdale’s and leaders of Local 3 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union have reached a tentative agreement, the retailer said this morning.


The two sides failed to reach an agreement on one issue – health care – and will continue to negotiate that point for two more weeks.


Stuart Applebaum, president of the RWDSU, this morning confirmed that a tentative settlement has been reached. It is subject to ratification by the union membership on Thursday. The union's previous contract expired on March 1, but talks had been extended through tonight. The union had authorized a strike if an agreement couldn't be reached by 6 p.m. Bloomingdale's said the agreement "eliminates any possibility of a strike being called against the retailer."


"We've agreed to everything except the health plan," Applebaum said. "We've concluded most of our negotiations but will continue to negotiate over the health plan for two more weeks, until midnight on May 15."


Once ratified, the new four-year contract will be in effect pertaining to everything except the health care plan. Any agreement on health care will be subject to future union ratification. Anne Keating, senior vice president of public relations for Bloomingdale’s, said that taking two additional weeks to review the health care issue in depth "was the most judicious move."


"Bloomingdale’s and Local 3 have worked together since 1938 when the first contract was signed," Ida Torres, president of Local 3, said. 


For complete coverage, see Thursday’s issue of WWD.

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