Teamsters served dues hit at Rite Aid

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Militant union's cash flow crimped

Rite Aid Corp. has notified 26 associates at its distribution center in Poca that they will be laid off effective Friday, a company spokeswoman said.

"I can confirm that last week we notified 26 associates at our distribution center in Poca that the layoff would take effect this Friday, Nov. 14," Rite Aid spokeswoman Cheryl Slavinsky said.

"The reduction is in response to the changing business conditions in the markets served by the West Virginia distribution center," she said. "Honestly, it's the economy - everybody cutting back on their spending. Retail has been hit hard. We've done everything we could do to not lay anybody off but we had to. We certainly hope the economy turns around and we can bring people back."

The employees are members of Teamsters Local 175. Slavinsky declined to describe the positions affected. She also declined to say whether the employees have been offered a severance package.

"We gave a week's notice and are operating within the boundaries of the collective bargaining agreement," she said.

Ralph Winter, the Teamsters' business agent, did not return a call seeking comment.

The distribution center, which is in the Rock Branch Industrial Park, has about 500 employees. The center supplies more than 400 Rite Aid stores in West Virginia, central and western Pennsylvania, northern Kentucky and most of Ohio.

The center last made news in 1999 when Rite Aid announced it would close. Following that announcement the Teamsters, employees, community leaders and government officials rallied to change the company's decision. Following a change in Rite Aid's top management, the decision was reversed.

Rite Aid Corp. is one of the nation's largest drugstore chains with more than 4,900 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The company has a strong presence on both the East and West coasts. The company has about 109,000 employees.


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