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Save Mart Pay Cut Could Jeopardize Talks

Supermarket's recent pay cut could stoke tensions with food workers union. Where would you shop if Save Mart workers go on strike? Tell us in a comment.

Save Mart Supermarkets announced a pay cut for 150 employees in the Sacramento area this week, raising tensions with workers during difficult contract talks.

According to The Sacramento Bee, Save Mart said the move was prompted by store closures and a weak economy.  A spokeman for the Modesto-based supermarket chain said the cuts, which amounted to about $5 per hour for senior clerks, didn't violate current contracts with the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

In the Bee's story, the union said it would keep negotiating with Save Mart, which has a store in Carmichael, to "protect our members' rights," said Jacques Loveall, president of UFCW Local 8 in Roseville.

The two sides already face an impasse in current negotiations over health care costs.  Earlier this week on the Local 8 web site, Loveall said negotiations had continued Tuesday and Wednesday without an agreement on workers' benefit pay.  And Save Mart stated two weeks ago it had given workers a final offer.

It's becoming the summer of labor discontent in Sacramento. Last month, Local 8 workers authorized a strike against Raley's after negotiations failed with that supermarket chain, although workers have yet to walk off the job.

A Local 8 receptionist who answered the phone Thursday said the union had not held a strike vote over the Save Mart negotiations.  But if talks fail between Save Mart and the food workers union, Sacramento supermarkets could face two walkoffs at the same time.

Neither side was available for comment Thursday.

Where would you shop if Save Mart workers go on strike? Tell us in a comment below.

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