Rite Aid Workers Need Our Support
By Mickey Kasparian
International Vice President
In July, UFCW Rite Aid members all over Southern California, and at Local 135 voted overwhelmingly to strike, if necessary, against their employer. This doesn’t necessarily mean we will go on strike, but it lets Rite Aid know all of our members are on the same page – unified and determined to increase wages and maintain benefits they have fought for and earned over many decades.
As of this writing, negotiations are continuing and we are leafleting stores, but our Rite Aid members gave us the authority to strike – and we will, if we have to.
Rite Aid is a Fortune 500 company. As of February of this year, Rite Aid was valued at about $7.15 billion. Rite Aid’s CEO Mary F. Sammons compensation totals $7.47 million over the five years she’s been CEO. Rite Aid can afford to give its employees badly-needed raises, continue their health care benefits and give them 40-hour work weeks.
Rite Aid is intent on reducing full time from 40 to 35 hours per week. However, workers want and need to work more hours and get raises just to make ends meet.
As if reducing hours isn’t bad enough, Rite Aid, one of the country’s largest health care providers, is attempting to shift more health care costs onto workers. We are fighting to make sure our members aren’t forced to choose between paying rent and getting needed medical attention.
And, to make matters even worse, – Rite Aid wants to take pharmacists out of the union and make them at-will employees.
Plus, they want to eliminate health coverage for Retirees. These retirees gave up wage increases and worked their whole careers to earn those benefits and that’s just not fair.
So, as we continue to negotiate, Rite Aid is attempting to divide our members with propaganda filled with lies. Do not be fooled! Management’s priority isn’t its workers. Its priority is profits.
We won’t let them get away with this. If Rite Aid’s executives keep making unfair demands at the bargaining table, they will have to deal with a unified and galvanized Union work force throughout Southern California.
We will keep you informed of all developments. In the meantime, stay strong. Solidarity!