Rite Aid Merger Update - Spetember 23, 2016
Rite Aid management is questioning your union’s decision to oppose their merger with Walgreens. We want to be sure you understand why your union is hiring an anti-trust attorney to oppose the Rite-Aid/Walgreens merger. So here are the reasons:
• There is no guarantee that Walgreens will not close stores.
• There is no guarantee that Walgreens will continue to abide by the union contract and pay for your health care and pension benefits.
• There is no guarantee that divested stores will stay open or abide by the union contract and pay your current wages and benefits.
Despite what Rite-Aid says, their agreement with Walgreens and their proposal to the Federal government have NO GUARANTEES that you will keep your wages, retirement, contract, or even your job. Read Rite Aid’s letter carefully: there are no guarantees, but the letter does encourage you to ask questions. We agree that you should call the company representatives listed in the letter and ask some of the following questions:
• How long is the buyer of a divested store required to keep it open?
• Is the buyer required to continue to employ everyone?
• Is the buyer required to sign the union contract and pay for the same health care and pension benefits?
• If the buyer does close my store, like Haggen did, will I have bumping and recall rights?
• Is Walgreens required to keep all of the non-divested stores open?
• Is Walgreens required to keep all of the employees in non-divested stores?
• Is Walgreens required to honor the union contract and pay for my health care and pension benefits in non-divested stores?
Right now, nobody knows the answers to these questions. Walgreens is negotiating with the government in secret. If those talks produce a deal that protects your rights, your union will welcome it. But we have to be ready to act swiftly if Walgreens gets a deal that jeopardizes our members. That’s why we hired an anti-trust attorney to oppose the merger and protect your job and your benefits.
Please contact your union representative if you have any questions.
Rite Aid Merger Update - Spetember 19, 2016
You have probably been following the news and hearing rumors about the possible Walgreens/Rite Aid merger. UFCW Local 770 has been following the situation closely and we are providing this update regarding what we are doing to protect your jobs.
Our in-depth analysis of the situation shows that this merger would result in lost jobs for our Rite Aid members. The overlap of Rite Aid and Walgreens stores will result in the forced divestiture of many Rite Aid stores in California. “Divestiture” means that the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) would force Walgreens/Rite Aid to sell stores to another entity that would agree to operate the stores for several years. The FTC does this to make sure that consumers have enough different drug stores to choose from when they shop.
There is no guarantee that the entity that purchases the divested Rite Aid stores will continue to employ the current staff or honor the union contract. Even if the buyer is willing to keep the employees and adopt the union contract, we know, from our recent experience with the Albertsons/Vons divestitures to Haggen, that it is difficult for any new operator to take over such a large number of stores and operate them successfully. Even if you are lucky enough to be in one of the stores that is not divested, Walgreens, a notoriously anti-union company, will be your new employer and the loss of jobs from the divested stores will have a devastating impact on the UFCW Drug Trust Fund that pays your medical and pension benefits.
You may have heard rumors that Kroger, the owner of Ralphs and Food 4 Less, may be interested in buying the divested stores. Because of their limited experience in the California Pharmacy business, we are not confident that Kroger will be able to protect your current job either. Based on the above, we feel very strongly that the best way to protect your jobs is to oppose the merger.
We have a hired an experienced anti-trust attorney who is working with both the Federal Trade Commission and the California Attorney General’s office. He has presented a strong case for not approving the merger to these governmental agencies. He is also preparing to file suit in the event that the government approves the merger over our objections.
Local 770 is doing everything within our power to protect your jobs, your benefits and your future. We will keep you updated with any new developments as they happen. If you have any questions, please feel free to call your Union Representative.