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Nob Hill Foods, Raley's Contract Talks End in Acrimony, Strike

The grocery store chain has dozens of stores on the Central Coast and in the Bay Area.

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 today 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 been interrogating and intimidating 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 Sunday. "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.

—Bay City News

Steven E. Schieffer November 05, 2012 at 05:03 PM
As a Scotts Valley resident, I want to let the Nob Hill workers know that I support them in their attempts at keeping a fair wage. Housing prices and rents around here are horrendous. I am non-union, and it takes most of my wages to just make rent and bills every month.
Nob Hill Employee November 07, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Us too. I am on the line out there. Most of us workers only are guaranteed 24 hours. Our health care is why we are out there.. Thank you Scotts Valley for all your support. The sooner we make an impact in their pockets the sooner we can get back to the table and see our customers where we like to, inside.. Thanks Again. Please support our cause so we can get back to "normal".
Nob Hill Employee November 07, 2012 at 05:08 AM
Oh yes patch.. It IS NOT our wages. We understand the economic hardship. We are not fighting for our contract over wages freezes and Sunday pay.. IT IS THE HEALTHCARE.
another emp November 10, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I alone will almost take a $4500 a year cut with out touching the healthcare. All the cuts to sunday pay and premiums and the cut to some of the holiday pay.. I am ok with that. As long as I keep my healthcare. x that by 7,000 people that is a 31 million dollar savings for the company. so leave the healthcare alone.

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