Raley’s denied a contract extension with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 5 and Local 8-Golden State on May 1, effectively ending negotiations that had been going on since last summer.
The contract for 60,000 union supermarket workers in Northern and Central California actually expired last October. The contract covered Raley’s/Nob Hill, Safeway/Vons and Save Mart/Lucky workers.
At the time of this report, West Sacramento-based Raley’s, a chain of 131 stores in California (115) and northern Nevada (16), faced the possibility of the first strike in its 77-year history.
Raley’s is seeking concessions to its contract with its unionized workers, saying it needs to cut costs for future viability. A May 2 article in The Sacramento Bee quoted CEO Michael Teel as saying that Raley’s non-union and office workers already have accepted similar concessions and that the chain needs union workers to do the same.
Raley’s had extended its contract every few weeks since last fall but decided to force a settlement this spring.
Fellow Northern California grocer Save Mart also will see its contract with union workers expire on May 9 after its own series of contract extensions.
Safeway union workers remain covered by a contract extension.
All the grocers are proposing cutbacks in employee health benefits, elimination of healthcare for retirees and reductions in take-home pay.