Talks on again between Raley’s, union negotiators

Picketed Raley’s in Auburn remains open, as does Bel Air
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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After a week of Raley’s store picketing marking the grocery chain’s first strike in its 77-year history, both sides were back at the bargaining table Monday.

Neither side was answering questions from the media but have issued statements.

“Negotiations have resumed this weekend between the two parties in an effort to reach a contract agreement,” Raley’s spokesman John Segale said. “Both parties have agreed to not discuss the progress of these talks while the current negotiations are ongoing.”

Raley’s was first picketed Sunday, Nov. 4 and Raley’s and United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 8 negotiators agreed this past Sunday to start contract talks up again. Raley’s has a store at the Foresthill exit in Auburn and a Bel Air store on Highway 49 in North Auburn. Both remain open, with no pickets up at the Bel Air.

Jacques Loveall, president of the union’s Local 8, said in a statement posted on the union’s website that Raley’s chief negotiator made the first move to resume negotiations by contacting the bargaining team with a request for more talks.

“We have agreed to the company’s request and discussions are underway,” Loveall said.

Loveall said it was “abundantly clear” that Raley’s return to talks was driven by the impact of the union’s picket lines and consumer support for members.

“While we are hopeful this turn of events will lead to a settlement, this is not the time to diminish our efforts,” Loveall said.

In an earlier statement, Segale said that the Sacramento-based chain is committed to achieve operating cost reductions and changes to a contract “which we need to survive.”

The return to bargaining comes days after the union and Safeway reached a tentative settlement in their contract negotiations. The union also came to terms with Save-Mart store owners this summer on a new pact.