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Following three days of unsuccessful negotiations, approximately 5,000 employees walked off the job at Raley's and its Nob Hill Foods subsidiary.
While picket lines went up early this morning, all of the company’s stores remained open, and according to a company spokesperson, "nearly half of our union employees have crossed the picket line and returned to work.”
“Following 48 hours of negotiations, we were unable to reach an agreement with the Union so Raley’s has no choice but to implement the wage package contained in the last and final offer we submitted four weeks ago,” he added. “It is unfortunate that after 15 months of talks and nearly 60 negotiation sessions, we were not able to agree on a new contract since it is clearly understood that we must reduce our operating costs to become more competitive against non-union retailers.”
The wage changes in question are the same wage changes that Raley's has already implemented earlier this year throughout the company, including at its non-union stores. “We are not making any changes to the health care benefits or retiree health benefits at this time,” the spokesperson added. “Our union employees now must make the same sacrifice their non-union co-workers have already made if they want Raley’s to remain in business in the years to come.”
The wage package Raley's will implement beginning Nov. 4 will:
- Freeze pay increases for two years;
- Eliminate paying premium wages above the current hourly wage for working on Sundays and holidays;
- Continue to provide employees with one-week paid vacation which the Union’s contract with Save Mart does not provide;
- Continue to provide employees with four paid holidays which the Union’s contract with Save Mart does not provide.
“We expect all our employees who are scheduled to work on Sunday to show up for work,” said the Raley’s spokesperson. “We have plans in place to deal with any job actions to keep our stores open and operating to meet the needs of our customers.”