California — According to the United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 5, 8 and 648 websites Union negotiations are ongoing.
Contracts with California Safeway and SaveMart stores have been extended on a day to day basis, subject to seven days notice of any party with its intent to cancel its participation in the extension agreement. The previous extension ended May 31st.
Most notable from the Union website was the statement that, “Talks with Raley’s-Nob Hill went nowhere Friday as company negotiators continue to press unrealistic demands for concessions in multiple parts of the contract.” Talks with Lucky-Save Mart are scheduled for today and Safeway talks are ongoing.
The Union’s Solidarity Alliance Newsletter noted four reasons why these negotiations more difficult than in the past. In brief:
1. Non-Union retailers are decreasing the market share of Union retailers putting pressure on Union retailers to stay competitive.
2. Difficult economic conditions affects consumer spending and profits. The last contract provided large wage increases, just as traffic to stores and revenues started to drop.
3. The federal health care reform law enacted last year is imposing new requirements that children of health plan participants now must be covered through the age of 26.
4. Overall health care costs are still increasing with another 25% increase projected over the life of the new contract. This translates into a $3 increase per hour worked by every employee, just to cover the increase in health care costs at the current level of benefits.
High level out-of-area Union negotiators hope to find a solution without local bias. More details can be found on the international “Bread and Butter” campaign website at yourbreadandbutter.com.