After today's meeting at the Meadowlands, things still don't look encouraging for Local 137 changing their mind and ratifying the contract needed to keep the Meadowlands going. All you need to do is read the statement I received.
The actual statement from Jeff Gural regarding the situation is as follows:
"I met with Bob Ligouri, Head of the Tellers Union today. However, for reasons known only to themselves; six of the seven members of his negotiating committee boycotted the meeting. In addition to Mr. Ligouri, there was one member of the negotiating committee and three tellers who came on their own because they were concerned.
Personally, after all the work I have put into this I was highly insulted by the decision of six of the seven members of the negotiating committee to boycott the meeting. I think the fact that they chose to do so indicates that they are not really serious about collective bargaining and simply want to see the place closed for reason that make no sense.
I thought that Mr. Ligouri and the tellers that were there raised some valid questions, and I think I was able to answer those questions and reassure them that it was not our intention to change the existing work rules. I explained that I expected I would be able to retain most of the existing tellers between the new Meadowlands grandstand and the Bayonne facility, and I made it clear that as a private operator our interests were totally aligned. I showed them the new plans for the building and some of the marketing techniques that are successful at Tioga that we would apply to the Meadowlands.
The more business we do the more tellers we will need and it is in my economic interest to find a way to bring in new customers which can only work to the benefit of the tellers. Since six of the seven members of the negotiating committee boycotted the meeting I have no idea what the next step will be, however, I still remain optimistic that common sense will prevail."
I will admit Jeff Gural has done far more negotiating than I have ever done, but at this point optimism must be turning into wishful thinking. Unless those from Local 137 who came today were 'wowed', I don't see how they will convince the remainder of their union leadership to revisit their prior decision not to vote on the contract. It certainly seems there is prior bitterness within the union and when you are dealing with people who insist on burning bridges they are standing on, it seems all which remains to be done is watch them fall into the water and drown.
All I can say, is plan for the worst and be pleasantly surprised if the opposite happens.