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Raley's Employees Strike over Wage Dispute

There are Raley's stores in Gilroy and Morgan Hill.

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

Locally, there is a Raley's at 777 First St. in Gilroy and 451 Vineyard Town Center in Morgan Hill. 

Today's 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 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 today.

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.

Are you a Nob Hill shopper? Do you support the employees? Would you cross the picket line? Tell us in the comments! 

Robin Church November 07, 2012 at 05:39 AM
I'm a regular shopper at the Morgan Hill Nob Hill. I couldn't possibly cross the picket line. These people have become like friends to me over the years. I'm always happy to see them and they seem happy to see me. They should be making more, they're worth it!!
nancy lee smereski November 09, 2012 at 12:28 AM
To Raley's management What Nob Hill has going for it is not just a good assortment of fine meats and vegetables--we can find those with a little extra work, going to Costco and local farmer market to buy quality. What Nob Hill has is an easily negotiated space, and its people. I have observed your staff walking with elderly people to find certain items. Your people cheered me on when I was temporarily using the electric cart (I hit nothing, unlike a lot of others) .Staff tells me of specials, lets me know when special items will appear, takes care of me.Open your books, if you are in such a perilous time. Work for partnership, not adversaries. I have gone through your Morgan Hill parking lot every day since the strike begun--not unusual, because I am an every day shopper at your fine store. Your lot is almost empty. There is a great Trader Joe's in town, to which you will lose much business. Most of the people who buy groceries at Walmart and Target do not even shop at your store., so your real competitor is Trader Joe's. Don't let this dispute lose you more business. Resolve the strike, in a fair way, for your success, and the success of your people. Nancy Lee Smereski
Kathy November 09, 2012 at 05:30 AM
Face the changing times people. We all pay for health benefits and nobody I know gets Double time for working Sunday. Talk about fair??????
Jody & Mark November 10, 2012 at 02:41 PM
How about you workers run your own business for a while and tell us how that goes. I only shop at Nob Hill and will continue to do so in order to show support for the big bad evil employer that has provided jobs and benefits to so many. Maybe standing outside in the cold wet weather with your "Temper Tantrum" signs, will make you appreciate the warm pleasant environment your employer has provided for you.
Jody & Mark November 10, 2012 at 02:48 PM
By the way, my previous comment was addressed to the union members that want to strike. Not to those union members that are told they have to strike.

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