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.

 

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Comments

  • Aaron

    Mr. Hall can say what he likes but the reason these employee’s are continuing to work is because they fear a strike will lead to the shutdown of this plant. Given the company has essentially tried to do just that over the last 2-3 contract negotiations, that has been management’s objective.

    If I’m not mistaken, during one of those negotiations, it took the state agreeing to subsidize much need upgrades to the facility to keep it open, which the company did not need to do after opening a state of the art facility in Hagerstown, MD.

    If these union members are smart, they’ll not push the company too hard and take whatever they can get. With newer warehouse locations in MD, VA, NC and PA added to the speculation of Rite Aid’s future, employees would be smart to lock up as long term contract as they can possibly get.

    • Aaron

      I'm sorry, updated warehouses are located in Aberdeen, MD, Winchester, VA and Charlotte, NC.

  • I dunno

    "Working is the right thing to do."

    Wow, what a concept.

  • John

    Hey West Virginia,

    Do you have specific examples of the "AFL-CIO Union Bosses" you mentioned? Or are just another union basher?

    • Joe

      Ken Perdue is a big problem, as you appear to be. I support responsible unions who view mgmt as partners in success, not adversaries. This whole "working people" myth makes me sick.

      Ken Hall understands what he has to offer are a team of local teamster members who want a fair day pay and benefits for a fair day of work. If mgmt refuses to see the business benefit in this mature professional approach, they are wrong.

      What you and your AFL friends do is threaten, intimidate and act like children who cannot stay up late.

      You want, but you will not equally give in return.

    • Joe

      On terms of a specific example, Perdues public backing of 15 per hour for burger flippers. Completely irrational position. I was disgusted of the picture at the rally of the SEIU member with a sign reading "So you really want to anger the person preparing your food"?!

      • Aaron

        These type of workers are exactly the ones who will be hurt if mininum wage increases to $15.00. As semi-skilled workers, Rite Aid employees have managed to unionise this plant and get decent wages but there is no way the job they do is worth $30 or more an hour, which is what they would need to be paid to remain in line with the minimum wage increase.

        • WV Citizen

          Aaron, Are UPS drivers is not worth there $33 per hour? Fed Ex Drivers in excess of $27 per hour? The workers are paid whatever the market can bear not what they are worth. Are you worth what you are being paid? I seriously doubt it! Wake up and look around jobs are non-exsistent in this region and you may blame Labor all you want the companies are going over seas. Cheaper wages and rules benefiting the companies are the reason ! Look at your shirt, not made in USA, probably China or Vietnam. You are supporting communism by purchasing items made in these nation. Get with the problem and made Made in USA relevant again!

          • Aaron

            I'm not blaming labor. I'm stating a fact. Semi-skilled pickers inside the Rite Aid Distribution center are not worth $33.00 an hour. We’re they, that is what their salaries would be.

            As for truck drivers, that’s a different discussion. They’re not semi-skilled laborers, they are licensed professionals and their jobs will remain. They just may have to move to another distribution center to keep them.

            When I refer to the employees losing their jobs, it is the individuals in the distribution center that I am referring to. If they strike, they are done. It's a simple as that and I'm pretty sure they know that given they voted to continue working under their old contract versus striking.

            As for buying US goods, first, I understand why US jobs go oversees and on that, I don't blame labor. I understand basic economics and know the fallacy of "Made in the USA" and know that it's not as simple as "buying American."

            Anything else?

      • WV Citizen

        Joe, Having worked at the Rite Aid Warehouse I have a different "look" on these negogations. These worker work their arses off. They are not highly paid. Little over $17 per hour. If Management has there way they would be making less.
        Look at the salaries of the managemnt team and their salaries on average are in excess of $ 65,000. They are not asking for the pie in the sky but a fair and liveable wage in these tough times we are facing!

  • West Virginian

    Ken Hall is a responsible Union Reprentative
    unlike Afl-Cio Union Bosses

  • WV Citizen

    As a former employee of Rite Aid Warehouse the union employees at Poca are dedicated, hard working and under paid in today market place.
    The amount of product they process is unbelievable. They deserve whatever their asking for!!!!

  • Joe

    I'm pulling for the local on this one, and I am certainly impressed with their professional and mature approach in negotiating.

    Keep punching guys.

    Joe