WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Raley’s announced Thursday that rather than making a final offer to its union workers, the supermarket chain is calling in a federal mediator.
Raley’s said on Tuesday that contract talks with the United Food and Commercial Workers were at an impasse.
“Before we send our last, best and final offer to the union, I want to make sure we take the extra effort to give negotiations one last chance using a neutral third-party mediator,” said Mike Teel, Raley’s president and CEO, in a prepared statement.
“These negotiations have dragged on for seven months and it not only has impacted our business but caused a lot of unrest and worry for our employees. I want to do everything possible to reach an agreement peacefully for our employees because they do not want to have to make the decision on whether or not to go on strike in these uncertain economic times.”
A federal mediator is a neutral third party who works for the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service (FMCS), a government agency that helps companies and unions reach agreements in contentious negotiations.
The contract between Raley’s and the UFCW expired on April 30 after five extensions.
“We are taking this step because time is of the essence and we must do what is best for the long-term interest of our company,” said Teel.
The union has to agree to the mediator involvement. If it does, mediations could start as soon as next Monday.
Raley’s employees about 13,000 workers. The family-owned business was founded in 1935 in Placerville and is now headquartered in West Sacramento.