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Strike at Local Raley’s reflects larger issues

A simple trip to Incline Village’s primary grocery store will be complicated until the chain can make a deal with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union regarding a new contract.

Raley’s union workers went on strike early Sunday Nov. 4 as a last stand against Raley’s proposed contract that would include wage freezes, elimination of premium pay for Sunday shifts and health care benefits.

Both sides of the picket line in Incline Village chose not to comment on the situation and referred questions to Raley’s and union headquarters.

The union said in a statement, “Raley’s has tried to dictate a laundry list of takeaways including devastating members’ and retirees’ health and welfare plan and nothing has changed. It’s clear from their action it’s time to teach them the meaning of respect.”

A federal mediator requested an extension of the current labor contract on an hour-by-hour basis after the deadline for a new contract came and went with Saturday night, but how long will this tactic last?

Raley’s spokesman John Segale said that “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.”

Raley’s operates 115 supermarkets in California and 13 in Nevada. United Food and Commercial Workers Union represents 7,400 of their employees.

Coverage on the strike and its larger repercussions can be found through the Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News and USAToday.

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