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Nob Hill Employees Strike over Wage Dispute

There is a Nob Hill Foods in Capitola as well as Scotts Valley and Watsonville.

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 Nob Hill Foods at 809 Bay Ave in Capitola. Just outside of town, there are other Nob Hill locations in Scotts Valley and Watsonville. 

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! 

Jane November 05, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Pshh.... I shopped there yesterday and was made to feel SUPER uncomfortable by the employees outside- they said it was over a healthcare issue, not wages. I am a faithful shopper there and was a little pissed that they asked me to shop elsewhere. Now I'm even more pissed to hear what the dispute is REALLY about. I mean, c'mon..... your an employee of a grocery store. Not a teacher, fireman, or something that our culture really relies on you for.
Brian Childers November 05, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Employees done want to strike. Who would want to walk around in a circle all day holding a sign? It baffles me that Unions still resort to this tactic. Nobody really wins! Regarding the support? I like the employees at Knob Hill and I'll support them. Safeway is just around the corner. When this is over, I am back at Knob Hill.
Jacob Bourne (Editor) November 05, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Jane, you're right that grocers are not teachers or firefighters, but we still need them. Someone has to do that job. So let's remember to be respectful.
Wendy GK November 05, 2012 at 06:35 PM
I was at Nob Hill yesterday and took the time to speak to the employees striking. I was not made to feel uncomfortable at all. They were very understanding when I told them I needed to shop there as I was on my way to work and did not have time to go elsewhere. They touched on the healthcare issue, but what I heard more about were the topics mentioned in the article and corporate's inability to work with the union negotiators. I like the employees at Nob Hill too and will support them by shopping elsewhere. And Jane - it's very disturbing to hear you speak of "grocery workers" like they are some lowly members of society. If it weren't for them, you wouldn't have a grocery store to shop in. They have just as much rights to fair wages and benefits as any doctor, dish washer, teacher or septic truck driver. We're all just human trying to make a living.
Jane November 06, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I obviously came across wrong, and I apologize. Of course we need them and they do an important job. I guess what bothers me is that they picketed under the blanket of "healthcare" when according to this article is was really over higher wages. I feel like they have good jobs and make pretty decent money doing them; and at this juncture in time, we should all be appreciative of being gainfully employed. Now is not the right time to haggle over a pay raise, in this economic climate. Healthcare, I empathized with. A raise, not so much. I apologize for what came across as disrespect. I love shopping at that store, and mainly because of the great service they provide.
Jobless November 06, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Unions have out grown their usefulness. They have no idea what it takes for a buisness to be successful. They exsist to suck wages from the Union dues and look important. If they demand too much for their employees, the company could go out of business, then where would the employees be? Nob Hill employees receive quite a decent wage with only high school graduation or GED required. A lot ...not all mind you...but a lot of Union workers take advantage of their union member status to be unproductive and only put out the very least required of them. Nob Hill Employees should be careful. There are many people that would LOVE their jobs at their current pay and benefits.
Rachell S. November 06, 2012 at 05:23 AM
I have been a Nob Hill shopper for around 28 years. I feel that when workers go out on strike, it has to be for a good reason, because like Brian said, "who wants to walk around in a circle all day holding a sign?" But now I'm disturbed to learn that there is conflicting information as to what the strike is about. When I researched online yesterday about the strike, I learned that the benefits were the sticking issue in the negotiations. Let's all hope that both sides can begin to talk again and a resolution comes quickly.
Vern Mathews November 07, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I get a kick out of people who do not support union employees. Nob Hill workers unlike unions that are paid on the backs of tax dollars do not take advantage of anyone. Corporations hire union busting firms (attorneys) on the backs of the shareholders. They they pay for advertising that is untrue to make it look like the view "jobless" has. Anyone with half a brain knows that health care has been going up and will continue to do so. Are doctors and nurses benefitting from this, No! The insurance companies are, which do NOTHING for their money. Who is saddled with the bill, we are, Nob Hill workers are. Do the corporate managers pay for their healthcare? No, it's part of their "compensation package". Corporate executives don't have a horse in the race only the employees do. That's why when a corporation goes into bankruptcy the employees pensions are terminated and management puts their's in trust away from the bankruptcy courts. So before you trash the Nob Hill workers with comments like unions are taking advantage of the company, think about their " net pay" after the corporations and insurance companies enrich themselves at the employees expense. I support the Nob Hill workers and anyone that crosses the picket line is selfish and uneducated.
Working Elsewhere November 08, 2012 at 04:46 AM
The union over steps its bounds. I worked for that store and was a member of the union. We were required to pay dues monthly. I paid my dues on time every month and every month I received a letter from the union saying I had not paid dues and I would be terminated if I did not pay my dues and bring them up to date immediately. This went on for the entire year I worked there. The union exists only to line the pockets of the union heirarchy not for the employees. That is a great store and company. The current employees better rethink what the union is doing and get back to work. There are millions of people out of work who would love to have your jobs!
martha Bennett November 11, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Jane, it is not all about healthcare. it is also about wage cuts, and termination of the retirement package.
Jordan Frank November 11, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Mr. Teel, I really believe you're delusional and need to think for yourself. You know it's not about a wage dispute! It is about the people keeping their health care in the union trustfund and not letting you get ahold of it , and start taking our health care away from us. And yes, it is about you wanting to cut off the healthcare of your retired employee's at thwe age of 65. The employee's don't want anything else from you but to keep what we have. We are ok with not getting a raise, you can take away the sunday premium, but this is all about your GREED and not giving a shit about the people who have made you the billionaire that you are! You are destroying this company, and you are never going to get the customers back that you have alienated because of your stupidity. Everything you are doing to lie to the employee's and get the customers back is not working! You obvbiously have TONS of money since you can let this strike go on! If you let this go on during Thanksgiving, you can kiss your stores goodbye, along with the customers. Wake up and start thinking about a solution. Your attorneys and your union busters must be making millions off of your stupidity! Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Sounds like you and your union busters, Mr Teel! The Customers are totally in support of supporting us employee's during this strike, don't you see your empty parking lots and how your sales are down millions.
Jordan Frank November 11, 2012 at 05:48 AM
This is not about a payraise at all It is about keeping the healthcare in the union trustfund.We don't want it to become a company bases healthcare where Mr Teel can openly start taking away our healthcare or paying much higher payments. And yes, they already do pay an amount for healthcare Yes Mr. Teel does want to take away the retired peoples healthcare at the age of 65 and dump them on to medicare. The employee's out on the picket lines are not lying to you. For 15 month the employee's have dealt with scare tactics and threats from Mr Teels union busters and he has everything twisted and lied about, that he doesn't even know anymore what he's lying about. I swear this strike is all about the healthcare. He wants to break the union and get the healthcare out of the unions trustfund! Amen, Enough Said. We know there is no raise involved and that's ok! And yes we are very grateful to have a job!
Jordan Frank November 11, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Yes, it is about healthcare. When you turn 65 he wants to dump you ! All of our retired families, parents need it!
martha Bennett November 11, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Jordan Frank, you put it quite wonderful, thanks. my husband has worked for NH for 35 yrs and it is horrible what the employees are going through
robbierotton November 11, 2012 at 08:32 PM
WOW! So much is wrong with this. First the union strike has everything to do with health care. Has almost nothing to do with employees wanting more money. In fact the union has agreed to allow small decrease in money earned by employes loss of sunday pay, loss of some holidays and other reductions in pay to benefit nob hill. Nob hill wants to make some drastic reductions in the health care they provide. to all members. Their the ones who have been bargaining in bad faith for the past 15 months hiding books, In fact the strike did not even happen until a federal mediator left the table because of the actions of nob hill's dirty tactics I work for safeway so I belong to the same union lucky's, safeway nob hill. Luckys who is probably doing the worst out of all the union grocery stores came to a agreement with the union just a few months ago. Safeway just wrapped up there negotiations with the union. we vote on it sometime this month. The Safeway and luckys contracts are similar in regards to health care. Nob hill is only being asked similar requests by the union mostly pleas to keep the health care the same.

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