If you’ve recently visited Raley’s grocery store in Turlock, located on Geer Road, you might have noticed a picket line of employees on strike. The 9-day long grocery strike came to an end today, however, as the Raley’s Family of Fine Stores and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) reached an agreement.
Jacques Loveall, president of UFCW 8-Golden State, and Ron Lind, president of UFCW Local 5, said picket lines would immediately be withdrawn from all Raley’s and Nob Hill stores. More than 7,000 UFCW members went on strike against the grocery chains early on Sunday, November 4, 2012.
“This is an important accomplishment for our members and retirees. Because of the resolve and Solidarity exhibited by our members and allies in the Labor Movement, along with the extraordinary support of our customers, we were able to address Raley’s competitive concerns while protecting our membership in a very challenging time. We now look forward to returning to work and serving our loyal customers,” said Loveall and Lind.
The strike settlement guarantees when workers return to their jobs there will be no reprisal for exercising their rights. They will maintain their positions, seniority and health care eligibility and all replacements workers will be immediately discharged, Loveall and Lind said.
“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,” said Mike Teel, president of Raley’s of Family Fine Stores. “As one of the last large family-owned grocery chains, it will be great to have everyone back working again.”
“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,” added Teel.
Details of the settlement, which culminates 15 highly contentious months of bargaining, will be released to the members before they are given to news media, they said.
Ordinarily, the terms of a tentative agreement are not released prior to the members having an opportunity to vote. However, the Unions did confirm Raley’s agreed to retain and fund the Union’s health benefit plan, the same plan agreed to by Save Mart and Safeway.
The Union will recommend ratification to its members with a vote to occur at a date to be decided in the near future. The agreement will also be shared with the union members working at Bel Air, a grocery store chain owned by Raley’s, which was not part of the strike.
The 9-day strike was the first strike in the history of the 77-year-old company. In recent years, there has been a huge increase of more than 240 non-union retailers either opening or expanding their stores specifically to sell groceries. This, along with the recession and skyrocketing health care costs, created a number of issues that both the store and the union had to work through.
“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,” stated Teel. “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.”