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Raley's, union in contract standoff

Raley?s spokesman said food workers union wants store to pay $20 million more in annual costs
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Both sides aren?t budging in contract talks between Raley?s and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 8. Negotiations remained at an impasse Monday after a Friday session over a new agreement between the union and Raley?s, which employs 13,000 and has 128 stores in Northern California and Northern Nevada. That total includes two Auburn-area stores ? a Bel Air Market on Highway 49 and a Raley?s supermarket at the Foresthill exit off Interstate 80. Folsom is home to two Raley's stores and one Bel Air Market. There is one Raley's in El Dorado Hills. The union is saying talks with Raley?s went nowhere Friday as company negotiators continue to press ?unrealistic demands for concessions in multiple parts to the contract.? Raley?s officials are saying the talks ended late Friday afternoon after Raley?s refused to accept two union proposals that would have forced the company to pay more than $20 million in additional annual costs. ?We were stunned and disappointed by the outrageous plan proposed by the union leaders which would increase our annual operating costs in just the first year of the contract and by the absurd demand to give the union complete authority to write the contract without any input from us,? said Raley?s spokesman John Segale said. ?Everyone knows we are facing tremendous pressures from non-union competitors and we must reduce our operating costs to enable us to better compete in the future.? Raley?s said the union proposal includes more than $5.5 million in signing bonuses of $900 for full-time employees and $650 for part-time employees. Auburn Raley?s and Bel Air locations employ about 200 workers. ?The very week that Albertsons (another grocery store chain, and a presence in Auburn for several years) announces it will eliminate 2,500 UFCW jobs at grocery stores throughout Southern California and Nevada, the local union leadership chooses to ignore reality and seems intent on forcing a strike that could destroy our company and potentially eliminate thousands of union jobs here,? Segale said. No new talks are scheduled and the current contract extension is on a day-to-day basis. The union is also in talks with Lucky-Save Mart ownership and Safeway. Both have stores in Auburn. After submitting their ?last, best and final? contract offer to the union, Lucky-Save Mart has agreed to meet Tuesday, June 12, with the union. The union was contacted by spokespeople at their San Diego headquarters but did not respond to Journal requests for an interview Monday.