Rite Aid Workers Rally at Calif. Distribution Center for Good Contract - Working In These Times
More than 75 Rite Aid workers from the Southwest Distribution Center in Lancaster, Calif. marched off the job during their lunch break this week to join supporters from dozens of other unions demanding that Rite Aid (a drugstore chain) management negotiate a good contract.

The workers began organizing with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) to improve their wages and working conditions more than four years ago. Since then, a rank-and-file committee of warehouse workers has met with management more than 100 times in an attempt to peacefully reach a first contract that would put their conditions of work in a legally binding union agreement.

"For over a year, management was looking to avoid sincerely bargaining with us," said Sylvia Estrada, who's worked at Distribution Center for 11 years and is a member of the union bargaining committee. "They did everything possible to break our unity–even committing Unfair Labor Practices. But we have stuck together through thick and thin and we will win!"

"Over 100 bargaining sessions and two years of talks is way too long for workers to wait for justice," ILWU Vice President Ray Familathe said. "Rite Aid management needs to get serious about reaching an agreement that will give employees the good jobs that our communities need."