West Sacramento-based Raley's has announced that it will close its stores in Pittsburg and Woodland, adding to four stores the struggling supermarket chain has closed so far this year.
At the same time, the grocer said it is resuming negotiations with the United Food and Commercial Workers, where both sides have been locked in a lengthy stalemate over a new contract.
The Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday that this will be the first bargaining session since June 8 and follows several more weeks of turmoil in Northern California's unionized supermarket industry. Two weeks ago, UFCW members rejected a tentative contract with Save Mart/Lucky's supermarkets by a wide margin, but stopped short of authorizing a strike against the Modesto grocer, Dale Kasler reported.
Kasler reported that negotiations at Raley's have been particularly acrimonious and that UFCW members have voted to authorize a strike.
Raley's spokesman John Segale Raley's told the Bee that the Woodland or Pittsburg stores could have been saved if the union had agreed to concessions.
Even if union leaders can strike a deal with the company, there's no guarantee it will be approved by rank-and-file members. A proposed contract with Save Mart, which owns the Lucky supermarket in Pleasanton, called for an end to bonus pay for Sunday and night work and employee contributions for the first time to their company health insurance premiums. The proposal was defeated by a 60-40% vote.