Napa workers celebrate end of Raley’s strike

2012-11-13T14:39:00Z 2012-11-13T19:20:26Z Napa workers celebrate end of Raley’s strikeCHANTAL M. LOVELL Napa Valley Register
November 13, 2012 2:39 pm  • 

Local Nob Hill workers reacted with jubilation Tuesday morning when they heard that a tentative agreement had been reached between striking grocery workers and management at Raley's and Nob Hill Foods grocery stores.

About an hour after news broke, employees who’d been on strike in Napa gathered outside Nob Hill Foods to congratulate one another and share their relief and happiness.

“I was crying because of all the emotion,” said Arely Soriano, who’d been picketing with her husband, Mauricio, who also works at Nob Hill. The pair was at home when they heard the news and had been planning to return to the picket line Tuesday morning.

“We want to say, ‘Thank you’ to all our customers,” Arely said. “God bless everyone who supported us. ... Without them, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Though Nob Hill’s parking lot had been nearly empty for more than a week, customers were already flooding in by 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. Some honked their horns, cheered and offered words of support to the employees.

“The news is spreading quickly,” Mauricio said, urging customers who had stayed away during the strike to return. “We have very loyal customers and they understood.

The employees were allowed to return to work Tuesday, but some said they would let the temporary employees who were brought in to replace them to finish their shifts. Many Nob Hill employees said they planned to return to work Wednesday.

They had not learned the details of the new contract, but said they were hopeful it was acceptable and were glad to be returning to work before the holidays.

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

Raley's spokesman John Segale said the two sides returned to the bargaining table on Saturday and worked for three straight days before reaching the tentative agreement early this morning.

"We're very excited about this agreement because it will help Raley's remain competitive in the years ahead," Segale said.

He said the 80 Raley's and Nob Hill stores in Northern California that were affected by the strike remained open during the walkout.

United Food and Commercial Workers union leaders said in a statement that they will submit the settlement agreement to their members for review and recommend ratification.

Jacques Loveall, the president of UFCW 8-Golden State, and Ron Lind, the president of UFCW Local 5, said picket lines would immediately be withdrawn from all Raley's and Nob Hill stores.

In the statement, union leaders said the strike settlement guarantees that when workers return to their jobs, there will be no retaliation for exercising their rights.

Workers will maintain their positions, seniority and health care eligibility and all replacement workers will be immediately discharged, Loveall and Lind said.

The union leaders said the details of the settlement will be released to the members before they are given to news media.

Union officials said Raley's has agreed to retain and fund employees' health plan, which they said is the same plan agreed to by the Save Mart and Safeway grocery companies.

Loveall and Lind said in the statement, "This is an important accomplishment for our members and retirees. We were able to address Raley's competitive concerns while protecting our membership in a very challenging time."

They said, "We now look forward to returning to work and serving our loyal customers."

When the walkout began, Segale said Raley's 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.

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

Bay City News Service contributed to this story.

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(6) Comments

  1. JMG
    Report Abuse
    JMG - November 13, 2012 3:30 pm
    Those poor temp staff they were so happy to finally get a chance to work and make more than minimum wage I know one of them who said he had been looking for work since may and he said I'd work for minimum wage and no benefits as long as I can work. When I saw people going into nob hill this past week the picketers were rude and just playing mean. My grandmother can only shop there cause she lives next door she can't make it to another store and the employees know that she just needed a couple things cvs Does not have and yet one man called her a mean word she said and I couldn't believe how they treated people now I know I will my shop there because I've seen the true colors of some of their employees who I use to really like.
  2. JMG
    Report Abuse
    JMG - November 13, 2012 3:32 pm
    Also once the strike was over I personally heard some male employees harassing a man who was one of the temporary staff saying better Luck next time it's Time for you to leave now we don't need people like u here I'm in totally disgust!
  3. Napan1968
    Report Abuse
    Napan1968 - November 13, 2012 8:50 pm
    If this guy is willing to work for minimum wage, no benefits why doesn't he apply at Target or Walmart? They are always hiring extra help this time of year and if he's willing to accept the horrible working conditions they have to offer than he's a perfect candidate.
  4. napablogger
    Report Abuse
    napablogger - November 14, 2012 12:08 am
    Yes, we should all work for minimum wages and no benefits, how dare those workers expect a life when we have to compete with third world wages! We are all Wal Mart now, weeeeee!!!!

  5. publiusa
    Report Abuse
    publiusa - November 14, 2012 7:55 am
    I want to personally thank the strikers for suggesting that I shop elsewhere. I did shop around and I found at least three grocery stores where I was not harasses by strikers' evil demeanor and the prices were much lower. I found Fresh and Easy in River Park shopping center, my old favorite Trader Joe's and I was surprised to find everything I really needed at Walmart.
  6. napa1957
    Report Abuse
    napa1957 - November 14, 2012 10:09 am
    Glad the strike is over. There are probably plenty of employees who really needed to work during this time, but were afraid to cross the line. People who fill in during workers strikes know that this is a dead end for them, but work is work while you can get it. I have been on both sides, and these posters are correct in that the behaviour of the strikers is deplorable. I know from personal experience how it feels to be called a name that implies that one would have coitus for cash, just because a picket line was crossed as a matter of necessity. As far as working retail for minimum wage...when one doesn't have the education or skill set for other employment, this is always an option. Been There, Done That! I realize also that many over-qualified people are in this position, but that doesn't mean than an employeer should have to pay more than the job is worth...unless they just want to go out of business.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick