The Law Office of Lynnette Ariathurai A Professional Corporation

Contract dispute headed toward mediation for California supermarket chain

Contract disputes are not uncommon. In fact, contract disputes frequently occur in the business world, especially in California where there are numerous businesses of every conceivable variety. Recent news stories have covered a contract dispute between Raley's Inc., a California-based supermarket chain, and union workers.

The current contract between Raley's and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCS) ended on April 30 after a handful of extensions. The unions apparently considered a strike, although that is unlikely their wish. After all, economic times aren't the best right now. However, until an agreement has been reached between the two parties, wages will stay the same.

It is reported that Raley's has one final offer to make to the unions before they ultimately "give up." They say this is going to be the best offer that they will provide. Raley's, just as many other businesses in the country, are trying to minimize costs due to the competitive market. However, before making their final offer to the unions, they've decided to enlist a little bit of help.

Because Raley's has been unsuccessful over the past seven months to come to an agreement with the unions, they have now turned to the help of a professional federal mediator to assist in this business contract dispute. Often, mediators are able to get down to the nitty-gritty and make progress even when a stalemate seems to exist. Hopefully in Raley's case this is how this process goes. If not, the unions may go on strike and the future of the business may be at stake.

Mediation is often a hopeful process in business contract disputes as well as other legal areas. Mediation strives to ensure that both parties are happy with the terms of the contract before it is signed. During mediation, the wants and desires are spread out on the table, in most cases, which allows for the most effective contract and allows for the contractual issues to be narrowed and hopefully a fair resolution achieved. If mediation doesn't work, requesting the intervention of a California court is generally the next step to work out the differences between the two parties.

Source: Sacramento Business Journal, "Raley's calls in mediator to work on union contract," Kelly Johnson, May 3, 2012

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