Delivery drivers for the 99 Cents Only Stores may strike if the company does not meet their demand for higher pay, according to a report this week in the Los Angeles Times.
Executives of the Commerce, Calif.-based discount retailer told Teamsters union officials Tuesday that they would present a new and final contract offer Friday. The move temporarily averted a strike that would have started Tuesday night, the report said.
Drivers will meet to consider a strike option Sunday, Paul Kenny, secretary treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 630, told the Times.
Local 630 represents 4,000 drivers and warehouse workers, including 65 drivers at 99 Cents. About 80 drivers who serve the main distribution center near Los Angeles voted to join the union in January.
The union wants a $1-an-hour wage increase per year for the lowest-paid workers. On Monday, the company offered a total increase of $1 an hour over five years, which the union rejected.
Kenny told the Los Angeles Times that drivers now earn $11 to $14.50 an hour, with most on the lower end of the range. A 99 Cents Stores spokesman did not dispute the hourly figures, but said that on a weekly basis, drivers had recently been earning $1,000 a week because of overtime. He also said the drivers spent many hours a day "sitting or sleeping" while their trucks were unloaded, the report said.
When investors became aware of the problem, the company´s stock lost nearly a third of its value in one day.