Recommendation from LA Federation of Labor AFL-CIO Members: Support Strike Against Southern California Rite Aid Stores
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Media Contact: Mike Shimpock, 323-776-9090
Recommendation from LA Federation of Labor AFL-CIO Members:
Support Strike Against Southern California Rite Aid Stores
300 LA Fed Unions and Their 800,000 Members Will Also Honor the Boycott to Rite Aid Stores as Negotiations Stall
Company Offer Slashes Health Care for Retirees and Cuts of 25% of Fulltime Employees
Los Angeles – Labor leaders representing 300 unions affiliated with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor unanimously recommended support for a strike and boycott against Southern California Rite Aid stores. The potential strike would affect stores from Arroyo Grande in Central California to the Mexican border, putting as many as 6,000 Rite Aid workers on the picket line.
“Strike and boycott sanction mean that all of the 800,000 workers and their families that are the backbone of the LA FED and its 300 local unions will stand together with Rite Aid members of UFCW. We will honor the boycott by not shopping at Rite Aid stores,” said Rusty Hicks, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “Once approved by our Executive Board and Representatives, our members and their families will not cross the picket line in the event if the employees are forced to go on strike.”
Hicks also said that Rite Aid’s brand will be added to the “Do Not Patronize” list if the dispute is not settled.
Currently the union is calling on consumers to boycott Rite Aid as a protest against their unfair treatment of workers. In less than a day a petition supporting workers gathered more than a thousand signatures.
Recent polling also showed nearly 90% of consumers supporting Rite Aid workers over management, and nearly 70% saying they will honor picket lines by shopping elsewhere.
The vote comes in response to Rite Aid management’s refusal to bargain fairly with its workers and its union, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). Both parties have been negotiating for months before the current agreement expired on July 14th.
Why are over 800,000 union members and their families supporting a strike and boycott of Southern California Rite Aid stores?
Rite Aid management has consistently and pointedly shown disrespect and contempt to its employees throughout negotiations. In addition to allowing the contract to expire without seriously negotiating, their offer demands include:
● Eliminating all retiree healthcare from current retirees, immediately leaving thousands of retired senior citizens without health care.
● Misleading wage offers – their proposal has language that would exempt almost 90% of employees from any wage increase. For example, if any employee’s wages are affected by minimum wage increases, or the employee is at the top wage step, they get nothing. This represents the vast majority of employees.
● Excluding employees from a say in their health care. Currently, the Rite Aid health care plan is jointly managed as a trust fund by the UFCW and Rite Aid. Rite Aid is making elimination of the joint management plan a precondition for any contract. Instead, they demand complete authority to raise premiums or eliminate benefits at their whim.
● Eliminating 25% of full time positions. Rite Aid’s proposal would eliminate 25% of the current full time positions and instead replace them with part-time employees – many of whom would be ineligible for health care or retirement benefits.
Last month, more than 90% of Rite Aid store and pharmacy employees represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 770 rejected the company’s offer and authorized the union to call a strike if necessary.
UFCW Local 770 represents roughly 2,000 Rite Aid employees working at 122 stores in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, New Hall, Arroyo Grande, Camarillo, Harbor City, San Fernando Valley, and Atascadero. Other locals boycotting Rite Aid stores are: Local 135 (San Diego), Local 324 (Orange County), Local 1428 (Covina), Local 1167 (Inland Empire), Local 1442 (Santa Monica), and Local 8 (Golden State).