Working In These Times
Rite Aid Workers Set to Mobilize Nationwide on Dec. 15th
Rite Aid employees and community supporters are organizing a nationwide "Day of Action" on Wednesday, December 15 to focus public attention on the company’s culture of corporate greed and its assault on workers' living standards and job rights.
Dozens of actions are scheduled at Rite Aid locations across the country, including stores in California, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. At each store, Rite Aid customers will be informed about:
- Rite Aid's decision to hike its CEO's compensation to $4.5 million despite the company's poor performance.
- The company's effort to impose huge cost increases on workers for health insurance.
- Rite Aid's disturbing pattern of delays and difficulty in reaching fair agreements with workers.
- The company's conversion of good jobs into low-wage positions with few benefits and no rights on the job.
The nationwide actions were sparked by a rash of recent decisions by Rite Aid officials:
- In Cleveland, OH, executives are trying to dramatically increase employee health care costs. The company announced plans to impose higher costs on Jan. 1 that could lead to a possible strike.
- In Lancaster, CA, Rite Aid executives stalled talks with 500 warehouse employees for nearly two years. Now officials are proposing to gouge employees' by marking up the cost of health insurance 28 times over the increase charged by insurers.
- In Rome, NY, Rite Aid is closing a distribution facility that pays family-sustaining wages and benefits and provides workers with a voice on the job. Work is being shifted to a nearby location that pays low wages with few benefits and no job rights.
- In Pennsylvania, thousands of Rite Aid workers are trying to reach a fair settlement.
The December 15 "National Day of Action" is being organized by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the AFL-CIO, Jobs with Justice and United Students Against Sweatshops.
On November 30, a letter of concern was sent to Rite Aid CEO John T. Standley, urging him to meet with workers and community groups to "discuss our concerns and explore constructive ways to work together to help the company and employees to move forward in a challenging environment."
Rite Aid has not responded to the letter that was signed by Tom Robertson, President of UFCW Local 880 in Cleveland, OH; Wendell W. Young, IV, President of UFCW Local 1776 in Pennsylvania; and ILWU Vice President Ray Familathe in California.
Rand WIlson is a communications coordinator for the AFL-CIO.