SACRAMENTO -- Raley's said today it has sent its employees its "last and final offer," a move that could bring 14 months of contract talks to a make-or-break moment.
The West Sacramento grocery chain said it submitted the offer to the United Food and Commercial Workers on Tuesday.
The offer includes wage and benefit concessions, as Raley's and the other unionized grocers in Northern California have been pressing for savings to combat nonunion competitors. Still, Raley's spokesman John Segale called the proposal "a real fair offer."
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By submitting a final offer, the company signaled that it's through with talks and wants an answer from the union's membership. "It's in the union's court," Segale said. "They'll have to set a voting date."
Of the three union chains in the region, only one - Save Mart Supermarkets - has reached a contract agreement. The UFCW members barely approved it.
Segale said Raley's offer "has benefits that don't exist in the Save Mart contract." For instance, it preserves paid holidays and vacation days that were eliminated in the Save Mart deal.
UFCW members have already authorized a strike against Raley's.
There was no immediate comment from UFCW officials.