Rite Aid Workers Rally in Harrisburg to Support Good Jobs and Workers' Rights

Jun 23, 2010, 13:42 ET from Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

Shareholders hammer mismanagement at company's annual meeting

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rite Aid workers from Pennsylvania, New York and California gathered in Harrisburg on June 23 before the company's annual meeting to rally for good jobs and show support for the five year struggle by more than 550 employees to form a union at Rite Aid's massive distribution center in Lancaster, California.

At the meeting the national AFL-CIO's Office of Investment released a briefing paper on Rite Aid's poor performance that singled-out CEO Mary Sammons for excessive pay. The AFL-CIO presented a shareholder resolution that would give shareholders an advisory vote on executive pay.

Two Rite Aid workers, Sylvia Estrada and Angel Warner from the distribution center in Lancaster made an impassioned plea to "right the wrongs" at Rite Aid.

"We've been fighting for over four years for a union contract that would give us our rights and a voice at work.  We want to work with Rite Aid and grow this company.  These jobs pay our bills. But we also want to be paid fairly and treated with respect.  For that, we need Rite Aid to reach an agreement with our union (the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)).

"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 also attended the shareholder meeting.  "Rite Aid should recognize that its employees are its most important asset.  It's time for Rite Aid to stop stalling and to negotiate a fair contract with its workers, Bloomingdale said.

The leadership and members of the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1776 call on Rite Aid to honor its expired contracts with the Local and "to bargain in good faith to reach agreement on new contracts," stated Wendell Young, IV, the president of the union. He called the company's behavior "wrong at a time when the loyal and hard-working men and women of Rite Aid have contributed so much to the company's growth in this economic downturn and throughout the past four decades."

Other speakers at the rally and inside the shareholder meeting included representatives from 1199-SEIU (the union for Rite Aid workers in New York City), UFCW Local 1776 (the union for Rite Aid workers in Pennsylvania) and the Teamsters Union (the union for Rite Aid warehouse workers on the East Coast).

SOURCE Pennsylvania AFL-CIO