Raley’s strike ends
The Raley’s strike came to an end Tuesday after the grocery outlet and the two unions of the United Food and Commercial Workers in Northern and Central California came to a tentative agreement.
Leaders of the UFCW 8-Golden State and UFCW Local 5 said they would submit the settlement to the unions’ members for review and recommend ratification, according to a UFCW press release.
Jacques Loveall, president of UFCW 8-Golden State, and Ron Lind, president of UFCW Local 5, said in a statement that picket lines would immediately be withdrawn from all Raley’s and Nob Hill stores. More than 7,000 UFCW members walked out of more than 120 grocery stores early on Sunday, Nov. 4.
The settlement guarantees that when workers return to their jobs there will be no reprisal for the strike. They will maintain their positions, seniority and health care eligibility and all replacement workers will be immediately discharged, Loveall and Lind said in the statement.
Details of the settlement, which culminates 15 months of bargaining, have not yet been released.
Raley’s has agreed to keep benefits for retirees over 65 years old, said union member Al Foxworthy.
Bundled in winter coats and heavy gloves, strikers at the Raley’s near the “Y” cheered when their union representative announced the end of the strike around 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
“We’re ecstatic. We just couldn’t be happier,” Foxworthy said.
Foxworthy, who has worked at Raley’s for 25 years, said he’s happy to get back to work. Eight-hour shifts seem short after standing outside from 6 a.m. to around 8 p.m for the past nine days, he said.
“We just want to get back in there and get back to work. And I want to give a hearty thank you for all the local support,” he said.
Raley’s initiated the negotiations that began last Sunday, according to Raley’s spokesman John Segale. He did not specify the fiscal impact the strike had on the company.
According to Segale, the store needed to cut costs during harsh economic times and it faced competition from nonunionized competition like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Raley’s president Mike Teel said in a statement that the settlement will still provide the cost savings needed to make the corporation competitive.
“This is very exciting because this contract provides us with the cost savings we need to fund our vision and the initiatives to make us more competitive in the 21st Century,” Teel said in the statement.
“It is important to remember that everyone including our employees, our customers, our company and the communities we serve have suffered in this labor dispute. So, it gives me great pleasure to know that as of today our employees will be back to work serving our customers with the same attention and care as we have always served our customers at Raley’s and Nob Hill,” he said.
This dispute marked the first strike in the history of the 77-year old company. Raley’s employs about 250 people in South Lake Tahoe between the two stores. The company employs 13,000 people at 115 California stores and 13 Northern Nevada locations, according to the corporation’s website.