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The Sacramento Bee reports that Raley's is unilaterally imposing the terms of its most recent - and, according to the company, final and best - contract offer on its unionized employees. This offer includes wage concessions such as a two-year wage freeze, the elimination of extra pay for Sunday hours, and a reduction in bonus pay for holiday shifts, that the company says is necessary if it is to survive.

According to the story, CEO Michael Teel said that "Raley's financial struggles need the economic relief that this new deal will give us," and he expressed frustration that the United Food and Commercial Workers leadership had not submitted the offer to membership for a vote: "Based on the union's refusal to call an election, I have decided to bring this to a conclusion now."

The retailer says that it believes that the contract offer is actually more generous than the terms of an offer by Save Mart that already has been accepted by the UFCW, which said that if it did not grant that retailer concessions its financial viability would be questionable.

The story suggests that since Raley's employees already have authorized a strike against the retailer, this unilateral move could precipitate a walkout.
KC's View:
I'm sure that there is a lot of posturing going on here, but it seems to me to be entirely fair for Raley's to expect a vote on its latest proposal. This retailer has been laboring (pun intended) under a lot of uncertainty in the recent past, and it at least serves to know where its unionized employees stand.

Life is tough. Times are tough. But the unionized employees perhaps need to consider how tough things will be if Raley's has to close some more stores or do something even more drastic.