After a complex collective bargaining agreement, members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 8-Golden State voted overwhelmingly in favour of ratifying new agreements with the Raley`s, Bel Air and Nob Hill supermarket banners. The vote will take place following an interim agreement between the parties last month. Five local members working in Nob Hill overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract. The agreement was approved at 93% and limits a nearly 12-month negotiation process with Raley`s, Nob Hill`s parent company. Despite the harsh rhetoric, a strike is still a way out. UFCW members did not approve of Walkout. Raley`s has not declared a stalemate that could force workers to vote on their latest offer. But Raley, who faces unprecedented competition, is getting impatient. “We won`t be here in three months hoping for an agreement,” said Bob Tiernan, Teel`s special assistant. The other northern California trade union channels, Safeway and Save Mart, are also mired in difficult discussions with UFCW. In addition to Raley, contracts for 60,000 workers are at stake.
Attempting to give the negotiations more urgency, Raley has been negotiating alone since the beginning of February and is abandoning joint talks with the other two channels. “The negotiation process is never easy, but a number of factors have made the Nob Hill discussions particularly difficult,” said Local President 5 John Nunes. “The determination and solidarity of our members, and in particular the continued commitment and hard work of our negotiating committee, ultimately led to our success.” “I think we can reach an agreement by the end of the week,” Michael Teel, chairman of the board, said in a statement to employees. But Teel said, “We are entering the most critical trading week to date.” His decision not to renew the contract of San Joses UFCW Local 5 has exacerbated tensions between the West Sacramento grocer and his workers. More details will not be released until the 4400 members of UFCW 8-Golden State in all three companies have the opportunity to review and ratify the interim agreement. Negotiations with Raley`s are expected to continue next week. This is not the time to prolong endless negotiations. We expect the company to be ready to negotiate so that we can reach an agreement that our members will be proud to ratify. The three-year agreements include significant wage increases and funding for improved health services without bonuses paid by workers working for their own health care – a rarity in today`s supermarket industry. UFCW 8-Golden State President Jacques Loveall announced today, after months of complex negotiations, an excellent new preliminary agreement with Raley`s, Bel Air and Nob Hill in northern and central California.
“At the negotiating table, we were able to build on the key achievements of decades of EU solidarity,” said President Loveall. “This treaty is one of our best, a great win for the members of the Union. We are proud of the collective work and management efforts that enable us to reach an agreement at this critical time. Other priorities include increasing the full-time and part-time ratio from 30% to 35% in 2020 and improving holiday and night premiums.