Nob Hill Workers on Strike After Contract Talks Break Down

The grocers' parent company Raley's couldn't reach a labor agreement after more than a year of negotiations. Workers to picket stores.

An estimated 7,000 grocery workers at Raley's and Nob Hill Foods grocery stores in Northern and Central California walked out on strike Sunday after 15 months of contract negotiations ended in acrimony.

The strike follows the implementation Sunday by Raley's of its "last, best and final" contract proposals, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers 8-Golden State and Local 5. The union accused Raley's of bargaining "in bad faith." The union also filed unfair labor practices complaints on Thursday, including allegations that Raley's managers have interrogated and intimidated union members, union officials said.

"We look forward to returning to the bargaining table when Raley's management has adopted a more constructive attitude," a statement from UCFW Presidents Jacques Loveall and Ron Lind said today. "Our goal from the beginning is to negotiate a fair agreement serving the needs of both Raley's and its union employees."

Raley's officials rejected the allegations. "We're very frustrated that it's come to this, this has been going on for 15 months," said spokesperson John Segale. "We submitted our last and final offer four weeks ago and we never heard from the union, they never let their employees vote on that."

"So we had no choice but to implement our wage package this morning," Segale said. Segale said Raley's urgently needs to cut costs in a "fiercely competitive" market. He said the Sacramento-based chain, which includes Raley's, Nob Hill Foods and Bel Air stores, has closed five stores in the past year and seen the opening or expansion of 240 non-union stores in its markets since 2008.

The conditions imposed today apply only to wages, Segale said. The store moved to freeze pay increases for two years and eliminate the premiums paid for employees working Sundays, night and holidays, but retained the one week of paid vacation and four paid holidays employees currently receive, he said.

Workers will be picketing stores and asking shoppers to take their business to competing grocery stores, union officials said Sunday. Raley's and Nob Hill Foods have more than two dozen stores located in the Bay Area and more in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.


Copyright © 2012 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

Los Gatos Observer November 06, 2012 at 12:24 AM
But we are not comparing stores. Rather we are comparing pay and conditions for workers at the stores. However, if your point is that Nob Hill workers should earn more because they provide better service then I'd agree.
Los Gatos Observer November 06, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Yup, but the owners are doing just that of course.
Shirley Wilson November 06, 2012 at 05:26 AM
I am a retired member of UFCW, 33 years service with Safeway Stores. I plan to join the pickets at Nob Hill in Martinez. Does anyone know who I can get in touch with as to when they need help with picketing? Days and hours?
Debbie Lawson November 06, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Holding out for time and a half for Sundays while Safeway etc... Do not pay that? My young daughter pointed out to me that there are many unemployed people in this town that would love to work on Sunday or any day...
Manuel November 06, 2012 at 06:49 AM
I would like to point out to all on comment blog that as a proud husband of a loyal union member and active Nobhill employee on the picket line; It is a hard decision and action all the families are taking to be fighting for their own rights for their future / healthy family upkeep. I respect the Loyalty these family are showing to eachother and their current customers in their community. Please Research what their fighting for before commenting : www.ufcw5.org Their fight in a short explanation is to maintain current pay take home they have earned in their years of vesting into this company and Health Care coverage for them and recent retired members. Basically imagine being a loyal customer to your car insurance provider for years/decades and the day you actually need them the services you have paid into are not warranted.


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