RITE AID UPDATE: Response to Rite Aid’s Implementation Letter

You probably saw the letter from Rite Aid HR threatening to “implement” their contract offer on their workers because “UFCW” won’t agree to their demands.

A few things to keep in mind about this:

UFCW = YOU. Everytime Rite Aid says “UFCW” they really mean “Rite Aid workers.” You are your union. They are doing this because they don’t want to bargain in good faith with you.

This is the action of a disoriented and desperate company. After failing with the merger, under sustained attack by their investors, and suffering from our successful boycott, Rite Aid is desperate.

This isn’t a plan – it’s a threat. Notice the language “taking steps”. They are trying to intimidate and scare you into something. Don’t be fooled. This won’t happen overnight, if it happens at all.

For instance, they promise a Kaiser plan in their offer. There is no deal with Kaiser, and until there is they can’t implement the offer. That’s just one of many things they forgot about with this crazy strategy.

Now, back to their letter.

What does “implementation” mean?

Implementation is a way for Rite Aid to force their contract changes on you without negotiating them.

When a corporation in negotiations can’t get what they want, they can declare an “impasse” and then “implement” the last offer they made to the union.

It’s a long process and subject to a lot of legal roadblocks, and our union is prepared to deal with this. We have (and have had) a plan for this.

It is a strategy used by bullies and dictators who can’t get everything they want. For Rite Aid in these negotiations, it is almost an admission of defeat.

It can’t stop us from boycotting or striking, though.

Why this means what we’re doing is working

The boycott, the unity of workers in the stores, the standing up to Rite Aid’s insulting offers – this is all working.

They know they overreached on the health care plan. They know they won’t get a concession from us on it. So instead of trying to find a compromise, they are going to try and force it on us.

But that only works if we let them do it. By standing strong and not flinching or panicking we can force them to back down.

What you can do

First, don’t let them intimidate or scare you. That’s their goal.

Second, keep up the good work with the boycott. It is clearly working. We have thousands of signatures on our petition and have turned away thousands of customers. Rite Aid clearly underestimated us – and panicked in response.

Finally, stay in contact with your steward and Official Union Representative

We are winning and we need to stick together. Don’t let Rite Aid’s desperation move fool you.