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Ballots were counted Friday night after a week-long series of meetings held from Ukiah to Salinas following negotiations that have taken place since September of 2011. The talks have been bogged down over issues regarding benefits for active and retired members, as well as what the union refers to as “management insistence on reductions in job status that would lead to large pay cuts or layoffs for hundreds of workers across the region.”
The strike vote gives the bargaining committee the ability to call a strike against the company and "brings a reality check to a set of negotiations which is sorely lacking realistic expectations on the company’s part,” said UFCW Local 5 president Ron Lind. “We have made dozens of proposals to stabilize the company in an attempt to fix chain’s market-share issues. It’s time for the company to get back to the table and negotiate an agreement that is acceptable to our members, their employees.”
An email to Save Mart was not returned by press time.