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Nob Hill Contract Talks Resume

Picket lines continue as the union and management go back to the bargaining table.

Contract talks between striking grocery workers and the management of Raley's and Nob Hill Foods grocery stores resumed Sunday, a week after a strike began at stores across Northern California, according to union officials.

Talks re-started as of 10 a.m. Sunday, but picket lines continued, according to a statement posted on the web site of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5.

"While this is a positive development, it is no time to let down our guard," the statement read. "The strength exhibited on our picket lines and our success in diverting customers to other stores will bring the company to its senses and lead to our victory."

The strike, involving an estimated 7,000 grocery workers in Northern and Central California, started Nov. 4 when Raley's officials implemented the company's "last, best and final" contract proposals after 15 months of negotiations.

The changes included a two-year wage freeze and the elimination of the premiums paid for employees working Sundays, nights and holidays.

Raley's spokesman John Segale said at the time that Raley's urgently needed 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.

Steven Bennet, a Nob Hill employee in Capitola and captain of the strike at that store, said Friday he's had enough.

“This is the final straw for me. I can no longer continually concede to Raley's demands. In my opinion this is corporate greed," Bennet told Patch.

Raley's and Nob Hill Foods have more than two dozen stores located in the Bay Area.

—Bay City News contributed to this report

Edward Neikirk November 14, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Funny to see a bunch of "supporters" attack someone with a cogent explanation of the situation. Grocery workers made their choice; they chose unskilled work. There aren't produce engineers or cash-register pilots. They stock, scan, and bag food. A high school kid can do the job. I'm personally stricken over the end of the strike. I would have preferred a lock out or to see Raley's close the store. People with actual skills and no union thugs to defend are the "bread and butter" of this economy, you know the 1% or the 3%. All you takers and whiners are gonna be sorry when we all check out and stop paying you to remodel, clean, mow, or bag our bananas.
Cathy P. November 14, 2012 at 03:35 PM
@Edward: "I would have preferred a lock out or to see Raley's close the store." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Like THAT'S a well-thought out solution: add hundreds of people to the unemployment line, more housing foreclosures, another empty storefront in town. Get real! If you want to bag your own bananas go to Food Maxx!
Cathy P. November 14, 2012 at 03:37 PM
It IS condescending DS, keep telling the truth!
Mary Sullivan November 17, 2012 at 02:19 PM
So, 97% of the population are worthless takers to you. The specious argument is always made that the 'takers' should have chosen a better line of work if they wanted a living wage, benefits, safe working conditions. To state the obvious, there simply aren't enough 'job creator' positions to go around, Ed. Each job, no matter how lowly in your view, is necessary to society. And workers should be paid a living wage reflecting the local economy they're living in. Supermarket News reports Raley's sales of 3.4 billion in 2009, down in 2012 to 3.0 billion, citing the poor economy and increased competition. A privately owned, family owned company, not accountable to stockholders, choosing to pass on a relatively small loss to their employees who are also suffering in a economy. Abraham Lincoln said labor is superior to capital. It's a great quote you should look it up. There are lots of reasonable comments posted here, on both sides of the issue. But, I have to remark about someone with such obvious disdain for his fellow human beings. I can't imagine what it's like to pass thru life with such rancor in one's heart. Are you checking out soon? To quote our President...Please, proceed.
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