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Raley's settles contract dispute with workers

The supermarket giant Raley's will apparently be getting employees back to work just in time for the busy holiday rush. The California based company reportedly worked hard to settle the contract dispute with its workers. The biggest challenge, however, is going to be winning the customers back that were lost during the time that the strike was on-going.

One of the biggest points of contention was the company's plans to overhaul its health plan. One of the new provisions would have been to totally eliminate health benefits for retirees that were eligible for the Medicare program. A union representative described the preservation of the health plan as an accomplishment for both members and retirees.

The strike lasted for nine days and there were approximately 500 workers hired to replace the striking workforce. Although the final contract has to be negotiated and voted upon, the employees will return to work and the replacements will be let go. A Raley's spokesperson states that their largest focus is to now win the trust of their customers back.

The grocery market is definitely a crowded one in the state of California. The Raley's spokesperson states that they will be launching several promotions to get customers back into the store. He states that they may have missed out on some of the Thanksgiving business but will continue to compete for Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's.

Beyond settling the contract dispute, the company is still competing against larger grocers such as Wal-Mart and Target. The good thing is that the strike was relatively short-lived and has reached an amicable conclusion. Companies which face such contract disputes often must walk the fine line between protecting their own interests and negotiating issues with workers and unions.

Source: Modbee.com, "Union, Raley's settle dispute ahead of Thanksgiving rush," Dale Kasler, Nov. 13, 2012

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