POCA, W.Va. — The head of Teamsters Union Local 175 said representatives were meeting with Rite Aid officials Monday to work out a time to head back to the bargaining table.
Union employees at the Poca warehouse rejected a new contract proposal Sunday 182-5. However, those workers aren’t headed to the picket lines. Even though they voted down the new contract they will continue working under their old deal while both sides try and come to a compromise.
Teamster’s local president Ken Hall said it was the right thing to do.
“Our members are responsible people,” Hall said Monday. “We want to send a message to the company that what they have offered is unacceptable. But we know there needs to be some sort of compromise in a couple of areas and we’re willing to do that.”
Rite Aid spokesperson Ashley Flower said the company also welcomes further talks.
“We are glad to hear the union is willing to continue negotiations,” Flower said in a statement given to MetroNews. “Rite Aid has and will continue to bargain in good faith. We look forward to getting back to the bargaining table and doing the hard work necessary to reach an agreement that is fair to everyone.
Hall said at this time there are two major sticking points in the negotiations.
“Their proposal was to drastically reduce the health care benefits to significantly increase the cost of prescription drugs and also to make changes to the pensions,” he said.
Union members said they know in today’s challenging business climate they’re not going to get everything they want. But Hall said his members shouldn’t have to sacrifice basic needs. He said they want a fair deal.
“It allows this company to continue to operate profitably, yet also provides those hardworking employees with a livable wage and benefits so they can support their families.”
Union members could have hit the picket lines as early as Monday morning. Hall said a work stoppage wasn’t good for the company and it wasn’t good for the workers. That’s why they’ll be working hard to come to a deal both sides can approve.