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Raley's Workers Go on Strike

Labor talks between 7,000 union members and the California grocery chain broke down this weekend.

Shoppers at Roseville Raley's stores may notice something new this week, picketers.  

Employees of the store and sister chain Nob Hill went on strike Sunday after rejecting a contract offer from the company.

This morning, striking employees were beginning to picket in force at the Raley's on Woodcreek Oaks and Pleasant Grove boulevards. The group was also gearing up for a larger picket at 2 p.m. today. 

While many shoppers went into the store straight away, the handful of morning picketers were also greeted by many supporters. 

Twenty-eight year Raley's food service employee Janis Barrett said she is picketing "to support all of my colleagues and hopefully keep our medical benifits." 

Barret and others were greeted by Roseville shopper Tina Tapia. Tapia said she came by the grocery store to show support for the picketeers. "I'm pro-union and I understand how critical the stakes are especially the retirement benefits," she said.

The Sacramento Bee reported the strike is the first in the 77-year history of Raley's, and noted that Bel Air employees are not affected because they haven't ratified a strike vote.

“We look forward to returning to the bargaining table when Raley’s management has adopted a more constructive attitude,” United Food and Commercial Workers Local 8 Presidents Jacques Loveall and Ron Lind said in a statement. “Our goal from the beginning is to negotiate a fair agreement serving the needs of both Raley’s and its Union employees.”

Raley's this weekend offered its employees its final-offer contract including the elimination of extra pay for working nights, Sundays and holidays, and the creation "of two distinct classes of workers — those hired after the next contract is ratified and those hired before," according to the union. A federal mediator was involved in the negotiations.

The union said its members will urge customers to shop at Safeway, Save Mart, and other union stores during the strikes.

Raley's has two stores in Roseville. The Woodcreek Oaks Blvd. location in West Roseville and a store on Douglas Blvd. 

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Disclosure: Cody Kitaura is a former Bel Air employee and former member of the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

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TheRealBigCouchPotato November 06, 2012 at 05:05 AM
Raley's is the highest priced supermarket in the area. I don't think this is due to the magnificent benefits paid to the employees because those benefits aren't that magnificent. Safeway and SaveMart are union shops but they have lower prices than Raley's. And you can't use the argument that non-union stores can charge lower prices because most of them don't charge lower prices. Been into Whole Foods or Nugget lately? They are overpriced too. I do hope they settle the thing quickly because from the workers standpoint, it takes years to recover the lost pay from a strike.

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