Strike over! Raley's management, striking unions settle
Raley's agrees to retain, fund union's health benefit plan
The strike against Raley's and Nob Hill stores ended Tuesday when a tentative agreement was reached between Raley's management and two unions of the United Food and Commercial Workers in Northern and Central California.
Leaders of UFCW 8-Golden State and UFCW Local 5 said they would submit the settlement to the unions' members for review and recommend ratification. The proposed agreement also will be submitted to union workers at Raley's Bel Air chain, which had not yet been affected directly by the strike.
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president of UFCW 8-Golden State, and Ron Lind, president of UFCW Local 5, said picket lines would immediately be withdrawn from all Raley's and Nob Hill stores.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, Nov. 4.
"There is a time to fight and there is a time to unite," they said. "Now is the time for all of us to come together and get back to work serving the customers who supported our cause."
Loveall and Lind said the strike settlement guarantees that when workers return to their jobs there will be no reprisals. Workers who were on strike also will maintain their positions, seniority and health care eligibility and all replacement workers will be immediately discharged.
Details of the settlement, which culminates 15 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 that Raley's agreed to retain and fund the union's health benefit plan, the same plan agreed to by Save Mart and Safeway.
"This is an important accomplishment for our members and retirees," the union leaders said in a joint statement. "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."
UFCW 8-Golden State and UFCW Locals 5 and 648 negotiated a contract with the Save Mart and Lucky chains last summer. Another agreement was reached between the three unions and Safeway/Vons on Nov. 8.
Loveall and Lind thanked the labor organizations in the Raley's Solidarity Alliance of Unions for their support during the negotiations with Raley's management.
In addition to UFCW 8-Golden State and UFCW Local 5, the Alliance's members included UFCW Local 711 in Nevada; Northern California Teamsters; Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 85; and IUOE Stationary Engineers Local 39.
Loveall and Lind also recognized the UFCW International Union, national, regional and local labor organizations for their support during the lengthy negotiations and subsequent strike. They also expressed their gratitude to Federal Mediator Greg Lim.