WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A major Northern California grocery chain trying to avert a possible strike said in a recent memo to employees that it is losing millions of dollars a year and needs wage concessions from workers.
The disclosure came from Raley's Chief Executive Michael Teel, the Sacramento Bee reported (http://sacb.ee/StViah ) on Tuesday. The West Sacramento-based, family-owned company has previously not disclosed information about its profitability, according to the Bee.
Teel said that 40 of the company's stores are losing money, some as much as $2 million a year. Raley's operates more than 120 stores in California and Northern Nevada, according to a company fact sheet.
Raley's is trying to head off the first strike in its 77-year history after saying last week that it would implement the terms of its final offer to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union this Thursday.
That offer includes a two-year wage freeze and the elimination of premium pay for Sunday shifts.
Union members, who have already authorized a strike, were called in by union leadership on Monday to assemble picket signs.
"It's looking like we're going to strike, isn't it?" asked Brian Pickens, one of about three dozen employees assembling picket signs at the Sacramento Central Labor Council's offices in Natomas. Pickens has worked the past 18 years at a Folsom Raley's.
The company employs about 13,000 workers, more than half of whom are unionized.
Union officials said Raley's has not agreed to a full audit of its finances, failing to make the case for the concessions.
John Segale, a company spokesman, told The Associated Press the two sides are currently not in talks. He said Raley's has contingency plans in case of a strike although he declined to provide details.
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