|Nob Hill Employees Go on Strike|
Published: Friday, 09 November 2012 08:44
Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 walk the picket line on Monday at Bridgeside Shopping Center's Nob Hill food store.
Members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 5 have walked off their jobs, trading their daily tasks for walking the picket line. Union management from the UFCW 8-Golden State called for a strike that involves some 7,000 union members. UFCW Local 5 stated that the strike is in effect for Raley's, Nob Hill stores, and likely Bel Air stores.
The strike is affecting Nob Hill's grocery store at the Bridgeside Shopping Center on Blanding Avenue, where some 30 pickets were out in force Monday. Strikers are handing out flyers that ask shoppers to take their business elsewhere. The flyer contains a list of other grocery stores in Alameda.
"Raley's and Nob Hill employees have been forced out on strike because their employer wants to destroy their family medical benefits that have taken years to build," the flyers state.
According to the flyers, Raley's and Nob Hill want "to reduce their employees' take-home pay, making it more difficult for them to provide for their families in these tough economic times." At stake are medical benefits of which Raley's and Nob Hill are asking employees to pay a greater share.
Raley's and Nob Hill are also hoping to change how their employees' benefit packages are administered. Currently the union administers the package. Strikers expressed their fear of any administrative change. "(Raley's and Nob Hill) could opt out of our current benefits if they get control from the union," one striker said.
In reply Raley's points to the "generous health and welfare benefits" its employees receive. "We have been negotiating with UFCW for more than a year," Raley told its customers online. "We believe our proposal to the union is both fair to employees and accomplishes Raley's need for cost savings."
Raley's said that when it got no response from the union, it imposed a contract that puts pay increases on hold for two years and eliminates premium pay for Sundays and holidays. The strike, which began on Sunday, affects 90 of the company's 120 Raley's, Nob Hill and Bel Air markets in Northern California and Nevada. This includes 15 stores in the East Bay.