Both sides in Raley’s dispute digging in

Picketing contained to one store in Auburn, which remains open
By: By Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Picketing was being contained to one store in Auburn during the continuing Raley’s contract dispute.

The picket line at the Lincoln Way supermarket was to mark the end of its first week Sunday with a union representative warning Friday it could spread to the nearby Bel Air store, also owned by Raley’s.

A Raley’s spokesman said Friday that this past week’s United Food and Commercial Workers contract agreement with another grocer would have no effect on the Northern California store’s resolve to not give in to union demands and picketing.

Jacques Loveall, union Local 8 president, said job action at Bel Air stores is not being ruled out. Bel Air union members no longer have to vote to authorize a strike because it would be in response to unfair labor practices allegations, he said.

“We haven’t engaged Bel Air at this time because this labor action will be progressive,” Loveall said. “This is Phase One. We would prefer not to have to impact every brand of Raley’s in order to find resolution.”

 Meanwhile, the food union announced an agreement with Safeway, which also has a store in Auburn. Loveall told members in a statement posted on the union website that Safeway agreed to retain and fund the union’s health-benefit plan. Save Mart – another supermarket chain with a presence in Auburn – did the same in the summer.

But Raley’s spokesman John Segale said the Sacramento-based grocer is not considering following suit.

“While we are aware that the union and Safeway were negotiating an agreement, it has no impact on our ongoing contract dispute,” Segale said. “Early on in this process, we chose to negotiate on our own with the union because of our specific situation and need to reduce operating costs.”

Segale said Raley’s is committed to achieving those reductions and changes to the contract “which we need to survive.”

Both Raley’s and Bel Air stores in Auburn remain open.