Rite Aid Workers Overwhelmingly Vote to Authorize Strike

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Members Overwhelmingly Vote “No” to a Draconian Rite Aid Proposal that Imposes Unattainable Wage Increases and Eliminates Health Care Benefits for Retirees

SAN DIEGO, CA – July 31, 2018 – In a decisive display of union power and unity, an overwhelming majority of Southern California Rite Aid employees who are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union voted today to reject management’s contract offer. The corporate proposal makes it almost impossible for employees to attain wage increases, eliminates wage protections for pharmacists, and cruelly strips retirees of health care benefits promised to them in their retirement, cruelly leaving them without coverage in their old age.

The company’s offer includes a so-called wage increase of 75 cents for each worker but applies unattainable conditions which guarantee that virtually no employees will actually get a raise, and those few that do will be forced to pay more than 80 percent of that raise right back to Rite Aid in the form of health care premiums.

Workers at top rate won’t receive the raise. Instead, their pay will be “frozen,” which means that their wages will remain the same for the entire life of the contract.

If workers receive any minimum wage increase during the calendar year or if they receive an increase based on seniority, the 75-cent raise does not apply to them either. Under these draconian conditions, almost no workers will qualify for a raise.

The company’s offer also eliminates the current health plan and bans the union from any oversight of workers benefits. It strips healthcare from all current and future retirees. That means seniors who worked their whole careers for Rite Aid will lose health benefits immediately when the contract goes into effect.

“I am a single person who supports myself. I have no other source of income to cover health care benefits and this change would be devastating to me. I worked for Rite Aid for 22 years and I am counting on this benefit during my retirement,” says Dolores Alvarez, a retired clerk.

Denice Gibson, a pharmacy technician for 37 years said: “I do not want the company health benefits. I want Union benefits for all employees.”

Carmen Ulloa is a single mother who has worked for 14 years as a shift supervisor at a Rite Aid. Ulloa points out that the company’s proposal prevents workers from receiving wage increases. “Things such as bills are already a struggle. We are struggling to get by and no raise and a change in healthcare plans would harm hundreds,” she said.

“Our Rite Aid members are strong and unified. They deserve to be treated with respect. We are committed to protect their health benefits and retirement as well as ensuring they receive fair wage increases. They work hard day in and day out to serve our community,” said Mickey Kasparian, President of UFCW Local 135

Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains that operates more than 4,500 stores. In 2017, the company reported annual revenues of $32.8 billion. Rite Aid and it’s shareholders stand to make $24 billion dollars in their pending merger with Albertsons. But their offer to their employees is nothing but a bait and switch for current employees and a cruel and immoral attack on senior citizens.

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UFCW Local 135 is well known for its tradition of excellence in representing the needs of working men and women. We are part of the UFCW International which is 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.