Business & Real Estate

Grocery union says it has new contract with Raley’s

A Raley’s worker pickets the Folsom Boulevard store in November 2012. There will be no repeat of the strike this year as a tentative labor agreement has been reached.
A Raley’s worker pickets the Folsom Boulevard store in November 2012. There will be no repeat of the strike this year as a tentative labor agreement has been reached. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

The union representing thousands of Raley’s workers said Saturday it has reached a tentative contract with the West Sacramento grocery chain, avoiding a repeat of the strike of three years ago.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 8-Golden State, based in Roseville and representing workers in much of the Central Valley, announced on its website that it has a new four-year contract with Raley’s and its Bel-Air and Nob Hill subsidiaries.

“This four-year agreement is a big win for our members, with many key improvements,” the union said.

The union didn’t release any details but said the full agreement will be mailed soon to members for ratification.

Officials with Raley’s couldn’t be reached for comment.

With the deal in place, labor peace has taken hold in much of the often-contentious Northern California grocery industry. Save Mart Supermarkets of Modesto reached a deal with the UFCW a year ago, and Safeway made a deal a month ago with Local 8. Raley’s Nob Hill supermarkets reached agreement with UFCW Local 5, which covers much of the Bay Area, last spring.

However, Safeway is still in negotiations with Local 5, according to the union.

As low-cost, nonunion grocers such as Wal-Mart have made major inroads in the region, the unionized supermarket chains have looked to their workers for wage and benefit concessions in order to reduce operating expenses.

The situation reached a boiling point in November 2012, when Raley’s employees went on strike for the first time. The strike ended after 10 days with a deal that included some wage and benefit concessions but kept the company’s generous insurance package mostly intact.

Since then, industry analysts say the union grocery chains have been mostly able to stabilize their businesses. That’s reduced some of the friction with labor.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler

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