Raley’s Awaits Pharmacists’ Vote Before Deciding Whether To Proceed with Lawsuit
Raley's supermarket chain yesterday announced that it will wait for the results of a second contract vote by the company's unionized pharmacists before deciding whether to proceed with a federal lawsuit filed two weeks ago, the Sacramento Bee reports. Last week, ballots went out to 220 full- and part-time Raley's employees who are members of the Independent Pharmacists Association, and a vote count is scheduled for Nov. 24 (Ferraro, Sacramento Bee, 11/7). Raley's filed the lawsuit, which asked the court to order the pharmacists to hold a second vote, after its pharmacists rejected a proposed contract last month. The lawsuit alleges that the union did not "strongly recommend without qualifications" that the pharmacists approve the contract. The pharmacists have been without a contract since Sept. 1. Raley's officials also said that the company would retract an offer for retroactive wage increases, which would cost about $1,500 per pharmacist. Retirement health benefits remain the "main sticking point" between Raley's and the pharmacists, who have sought benefits equal to those of current employees (California Healthline, 10/23). IPA officials said Raley's complaint is "moot" because pharmacists are complying with the company's request to vote again, the Bee reports. Raley's spokesperson Carolyn Konrad said the company is in a "wait-and-see mode," adding that the proposed retiree health benefits are "generous," the Bee reports. The company has offered to pay retirees a lump sum payment based on years of work, saying that current pharmacists' wages are "adequate for them to contribute to a post-retirement medical savings account," the Bee reports. "The plan offered to our pharmacists is comparable to or better than what management-level employees ... get," she said, adding, "What the pharmacists are asking for is far beyond what anyone in the main office is getting, including our executives" (Sacramento Bee, 11/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.