Pennsylvania AFL-CIO: Rite Aid Workers Call for Affordable Health Care and Good Jobs at Shareholders Meeting

Jun 22, 2011, 13:43 ET from Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

When: 9:30 a.m., Thursday, June 23, 2011

Where: Outside the Hilton Hotel, corner of Second and Market Streets

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rite Aid workers from seven states will rally against management's plan to make employees pay more for their health care and to show support for a 15-week unfair labor practice strike by Rite Aid employees at seven stores in Cleveland, Ohio.  The rally will take place immediately before the company's annual shareholder meeting.

The day before the annual meeting, Rite Aid union leaders met for a national summit to share information and develop common strategies for dealing with the company's plan to shift health insurance costs to workers and taxpayers.  Rite Aid is the nation's third largest drug store chain.

In conjunction with the summit meeting, two leading workers' rights groups released an "Investor Alert" on the mismanagement and corporate greed that has led to Rite Aid's poor performance.  The report is available from Jobs with Justice at and United Students Against Sweatshops at

"Our solidarity rally at the shareholder meeting in Harrisburg will send a message to the Board of Directors and top managers that shifting the burden of health care benefits to Rite Aid workers -- and taxpayers -- won't solve their financial problems or make the company profitable," said Tom Robertson, head of the Ohio United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) local leading the strike at seven Rite Aid stores.

Many rally participants are planning to attend the shareholder meeting in order to voice their concerns directly to Rite Aid's Board of Directors and top executives.  

"We're standing with the Rite Aid workers to help them win the good jobs our communities need," said Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale, who attended last year's shareholder meeting.  "Rite Aid should recognize that hardworking employees are the company's most important asset.  It's time for Rite Aid to negotiate fair contracts with workers."

"We are calling on Rite Aid to bargain in good faith to reach agreements on new contracts," said Wendell W. Young, IV, president of UFCW Local 1776 that represents Rite Aid workers in southeast, northeast and central Pennsylvania.  Young called the company's behavior "wrong at a time when the loyal men and women of Rite Aid have worked so hard to help the company weather this economic downturn and contributed to its growth throughout the past four decades."

The AFL-CIO has supported Rite Aid workers in Pennsylvania and across the country," said Frank Snyder, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer.  "And we will continue to stand with them until they get the justice and respect they deserve."

Rite Aid workers from the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, SEIU 1199, Teamsters and UFCW have attended the last three shareholder meetings.  Participation in these events has helped increase coordination among the workers' unions and promoted broader public and investor awareness of problems at Rite Aid.

SOURCE Pennsylvania AFL-CIO