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The Sacramento Bee reports that Raley’s has decided to separate itself from fellow grocers Safeway and Save-Mart in ongoing negotiations with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) over a new contract.

According to the story, Raley’s says that he lack of process in negotiations is costing it millions of dollars and contributed to the recent closing of two stores, and that the greater urgency in its case means that it will now bargain on its own.

The Bee writes that “the company is seeking about $18 million worth of annual savings, mostly through cutbacks in health expenses, according to a memo sent to employees late Wednesday by Chief Executive Michael Teel. The lack of a new contract since the old pact expired four months ago has cost Raley's about $6 million, he said. Teel expressed frustration that the UFCW has refused to give ground even as Raley's has explained the corrosive effects of a surge in competition from low-cost, non-union employers.”
KC's View:
I know I’m naive about this stuff, but I can never quite understand why it is so hard for two sides to come to some sort of an understanding in cases like these. If Raley’s folds, or gets sold, those union jobs could go away. On the other hand, I assume that Raley’s feels a commitment to its employees. You’d think that everyone would realize that they all have skin in the game, and that it is in everybody’s best interests to share the pain and share the rewards if things work out in the end.