Story Summary

Raley’s, Union at Odds

The United Food and Commercial Workers union is at odds with the West Sacramento-based Raley’s grocery store chain.

The issue at hand is mainly the reduction of wages. The chain says they’re forced to reduce pay because of the number of non-union shops popping up with their territory over the last few years.

A federal moderator was brought in to help the two sides reach an agreement, however Saturday, November 3 at midnight a deal had not been reached and the union went on strike.

After 9 days, the strike ended on November 13. Details of the agreement won’t be made public until the union ratifies the deal.

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Raley's Workers Consider StrikeWEST SACRAMENTO-

Raley’s and the United Food and Commercial Workers union have agreed to an “expedited arbitration” Friday, which will resolve a dispute over the two parties’ new collective bargaining agreement.

A Raley’s representative said that the dispute over the agreement, signed last month, is over its implementation. The union and Raley’s differ on two key portions, the rep added.

The arbitration will start “as soon as possible.” Meanwhile, the UFCW will continue counting ballots and finish their ratification process for the agreement.

Local News
11/13/12

Raley’s and Union Reach Deal, Strike to End Immediately

Raley’s employees strike outside an Elk Grove store location Sunday.

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Raley’s and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union have reached an agreement, the company announced Tuesday morning.

Details of the agreement won’t be available until the union ratifies the deal.

Earlier Tuesday morning, a person inside the Raley’s organization told FOX40 that a deal has been reached to end the strike.

Luana Munoz learned the agreement was reached between the company and workers’ union, and the strike should officially be over at Noon Tuesday. However, the company said that the pickets will end immediately now that the agreement has been announced.

“I greatly appreciate the incredible effort put forth by our employees and company during this time as well as thank the many customers who continued to support us.  As one of the last large family-owned grocery chains, it will be great to have everyone back working again,” wrote Mike Teal, president of Raley’s, in a statement.

Negotiations between the company and union had stretched for 15 months prior to the 9 day strike. The sticking point looked to be health care, with the union releasing numerous statements noting “terms proposed by the company include elimination of retiree health care and inadequate funding of health care for active workers.”

Raley’s has maintained that these claims aren’t true, noting that the final contract proposed to the union only dealt with employee wages.

In the statement announcing the end of the strike, Raley’s notes that the deal will be shared with Bel Air union members. Workers at Bel Air never joined in on the strike.

This strike was the first in the West Sacramento-based company’s 77 year history. Pressures from the economy and increases in non-union stores selling groceries is said to have started the issues the union and company had to work through.

Cecilio Padilla contributed to this report.

Raley’s employees strike outside an Elk Grove store location Sunday.

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A deal to end the nine-day strike of Raley’s workers appears to be in the works.

A spokesman for the West Sacramento-based grocery chain will only tell FOX40 there is an announcement coming at 9 a.m. Tuesday, but would not elaborate on what the details are.

A man FOX40 spoke with who is one of the striking employees says he was told to “hold the line” and return to the picket line Tuesday.

A handful of employees were striking outside a Sacramento Raley’s location around 9 a.m. when FOX40 stopped by.

The Sacramento Bee reports there was an overnight negotiation session in San Francisco, and that a deal was reached.

With union delivery drivers said to be joining in on the strike, FOX40 tried to find out if the store’s inventories are being affected. Sonseeahray Tonsall reports.

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On a day to honor veterans, some vets were choosing to join union employees in the ongoing battle against Raley’s.

The move comes a day after tensions escalated, with a picketer’s car accidentally hit by a delivery truck.

Today, Raley’s initiated negotiations with the UFCW.

Raley’s said in a statement that, “Both parties have agreed to not discuss the progress of these talks while the current negotiations are ongoing. We are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair and equitable to both parties.”

The local 8 told its members on their website, “It is abundantly clear to us Raley’s desire to return to the bargaining table has been driven by the success or our picket lines and consumer support for our members.”

Despite some picketers returning to work after learning that Raley’s is still promising health benefits until the age of 65, others maintain their stance that it’s not enough.

Even as temperatures drop, the hostilities are beginning to rise.

“Not one of these people striking actually works here,” said a person in a car.

“Do you want to see my badge? It’s in my car,” replied Randell Ng, a striking worker.

“When you (expletive) with your employer, you lose. If they go out of business, you lose your job,” responded the person in the car.

Confrontations like this have been occurring over the last seven days – on both sides.

“The strikers basically blocked me from entering the parking lot, so I had to back out and enter in across the street here,” said Jacob Shockley, who tried to shop a Raley’s Saturday.

“Other employees that crossed the line to scab have crossed the line and they come out and taking pictures and shouting at our other picketers here. I’ve seen the security come through here putting their two cents in,” Ng said.

And in such a volatile environment, even a simple accident could have major implications.

“And as he was coming in, they were banging on his trailer and he hit a parked car,” said Shockley, who witnessed a delivery truck hitting a car that supposedly belonged to a striking worker.

“We are in the process of investigating it. And we will get all the details, but what our initial reports are is that the strikers were trying to harass the driver and block his attempt to our bay so he could deliver his product,” said Raley’s Spokesman John Segale.

But the strikers say that’s not exactly what happened.

“We were trying to stop the truck from going any further and doing any more damage to my car or their car or anything. We’re taught by the union reps we are not to interfere with these guys. We are supposed to let everything happen , say what we need to say, but we don’t interfere in the business of Raley’s,” Ng said.

So far Raley’s and the union are trying to work out the details of a resolution, but no agreement has been met.

James Myers filed this report.

Raley’s employees strike outside an Elk Grove store location Sunday.

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At the center of the Raley’s strike is the issue of medical coverage.

Raley’s released a summary of the contract they presented to the union four weeks ago, but according to Raley’s and union employees the contract was never presented to union employees by the union.

Raley’s also released a comparison of their contract to that of Save Mart’s and it showed that Raley’s plan was better.

The health plan for union employees is also better than they provide their store directors and corporate office.

The plan reuqires no premiums and also provides paid sick leave.

Save Mart’s contract requires weekley contributions.

If you retire, Raley’s continues to offer health care up until the age of 65 which is when individuals become eligible for medicare.

That cut off goes for all Raley’s employees including company executives and non union stores.

“The reason is simple,” Raley’s said in a statement. “We can no longer afford this very expensive coverage. In fact, 85% of employers have taken similar action and no longer provide this coverage.

Strikers are currently on day five of a strike.

Flyer passed out at Raley’s store where workers are on strike

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Raley’s Supermarkets are advertising free food specials to combat the loss of customers during a worker’s strike.

Newspaper and radio ads are promoting the give-a-way of a bag of groceries that include an avacado, a dozen eggs, a bag of chips and a 2 liter bottle of soda with the purchase of $20 of groceries.  In addition customers get a $5 coupon  for more free food with a $20 purchase on the next visit. The offer is good through Thursday.

The offer is billed as a reward for loyal customers.  Deb Cloninger cashed in on her free bag after making a special trip to the Raley’s on Freeport Boulevard to support the company.

“I think people are loyal, I mean when it comes down to it if they receive good service I think people are loyal,” said Cloninger.

But striking workers say the program is a thinly disguised effort to lure new customers to stores that are hurting for business.  They claim those who are getting the free food offer aren’t loyal customers.

“They’re coming in and that’s all they’re walking out of here with, the freebie,” said picket captain Robert Barbieri.

Union officials are not above spinning the facts in the contentious strike.  They say the give-a-way is a desperate measure in which the chain is giving away items that would spoil for lack of customers anyway.

That might be true of the avacado and the eggs but it’s hard to make that case for the chips or the soda. Customers can also get the offer at Bel Air stores where workers haven’t walked out because they haven’t taken a strike authorization vote.

Still, strikers are getting their share of support from customers who won’t cross picket lines like Wilson Kirby.  He says he’s been on both sides of labor disputes but is supporting the workers in this case.  He brought a sign saying he’s not shopping at Raley’s and carried a bag of groceries he had just purchased.

“It’s from Safeway, a union shop,” said Kirby.

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Kimberly Rankin reports on day three of the Raley’s strike, where some people have alleged that picketers have been harassing shoppers.

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