Rite Aid union: strike looms

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

In a vote that took place from July 26 through July 30, members of seven Southern California local unions of the United Food and Commercial Workers have voted to reject a contract offer from drug retailer Rite Aid and to authorize union leaders to call a strike if an agreement can’t be found.

Among the union locals was UFCW Local 8-Golden State, which covers Ridgecrest and the rest of Kern County.

In a statement released by union officials, the UFCW says that Rite Aid is seeking 34 concessions from workers, including multiple healthcare reductions, reduction in the number of hours workers are allowed to work and reductions in employee benefits.

A Rite Aid spokesperson released a statement. “The specifics of our proposal are matters we will be discussing at the bargaining table with the Union as we continue to work hard to reach a fair agreement for all involved.

“We’re disappointed that the Union has called for a strike authorization vote and think such a vote is premature, especially since the Union hasn’t even given us a counter proposal to our first proposal.”

The proposal would not affect store managers, but would affect all other store employees, including pharmacists, at Rite Aid locations from Kern County south to the Mexican border. The soonest a strike could begin would be Aug. 8, which is 72 hours after the current contract extension is set to expire.

Story First Published: 2012-08-08