CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Negotiations between Teamsters Local 175 and Rite Aid continued Friday afternoon in an effort to reach a contract for the company's workers at the company's warehouse in Poca."We are in the midst of contract negotiations. We have, and will continue to have, discussions until we reach a contact fair to everyone involved," said Ashley Flower, a national spokeswoman for Rite Aid."We have brought in a federal mediator to assist negotiations. That's all we have at this point," Flower said Friday.A woman at the Poca warehouse told a reporter to call Rite Aid's corporate headquarters.
Kellie Shamblin, vice president of South Charleston-based Local 175, said negotiations were continuing Friday."This may be the last days of meetings. We should have a vote on Sunday" on a new contract, Shamblin said.
The union represents about 500 workers at the Poca warehouse.Ken Hall, president of Local 175, is general secretary-treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He could not be reached for comment on Friday.In 1999, Rite Aid's top executives announced plans to close the Poca warehouse and move its operations to a new warehouse in Perryman, Md., by the following summer.Several months later, after continued negotiations, Teamsters Local 175 members overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract, by a 293-35 vote, that kept jobs at the Poca warehouse and distribution center.Hall praised Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., for playing a key role in saving the Poca plant back then."I think Jay Rockefeller is one of the last statesmen in the U.S. Senate. He's been a friend of ours, but he has always been balanced when it came to labor and management issues," Hall said at the time.Reach Paul J. Nyden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5164.