Union: Raley's Talks Break Down, Strike Called - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Union: Raley's Talks Break Down, Strike Called

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WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A northern California labor union says contracts talks with Raley's supermarkets have broken down and a strike has been called.

Ellen Anreder, a spokeswoman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, said early Sunday that picket lines will begin at 6 a.m. PST.

The announcement came a few hours after both sides said the existing labor contract was being extended on an hour-by-hour basis at the request of the federal mediator.

But the union says in a statement released early Sunday that "by late on Saturday evening, it had become obvious Raley's offer to extend the contract for an additional three days and return to the bargaining table" was a delaying tactic.

On Saturday, the two sides held a third day of bargaining aimed at heading off the first strike in Raley's 77-year history.

The grocer has 128 stores in Northern California and Nevada.

Channel 2 News called all of the local Raley's stores in the area, managers from the South Lake Tahoe and Incline Village stores say there are people striking outside their stores currently. They then directed us to their corporate offices for more information, which sent us the following statement:

"Following 48 hours of negotiations, we were unable to reach an agreement with the Union so Raley's has no choice but to implement the wage package contained in the last and final offer we submitted four weeks ago.   It is unfortunate that after 15 months of talks and nearly 60 negotiation sessions, we were not able to agree on a new contract since it is clearly understood that we must reduce our operating costs to become more competitive against non-union retailers.
The wage changes we are now making are the same wage changes that we have already implemented earlier this year throughout our company including at our non-union stores.  We are not making any changes to the health care benefits or retiree health benefits at this time. 
Our union employees now must make the same sacrifice their non-union co-workers have already made if they want Raley's to remain in business in the years to come.  The wage package we are implementing beginning Sunday, November 4th will:
  1. Freeze pay increases for two years;
  2. Eliminate paying premium wages above the current hourly wage for working on Sundays and holidays;
  3. Continue to provide employees with one-week paid vacation which the Union's contract with Save Mart does not provide; and,
  4. Continue to provide employees with four paid holidays which the Union's contract with Save Mart does not provide.
Finally, we expect all our employees who are scheduled to work on Sunday to show up for work.  We have plans in place to deal with any job actions to keep our stores open and operating to meet the needs of our customers.

As for the Nevada stores, we anticipate no problems in servicing the Nevada stores since they are not part of the called strike.  Product is moving right now with no problems en route or upon arrival."

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