United Food and Commercial Workers Union members recently voted in favor of a new two-year labor contract with the Sacramento-based grocery store chain Raley’s, which operates two Nob Hill Foods grocery stores in Gilroy and Morgan Hill. The newly ratified contract comes more than a month after nearly 7,000 UFCW workers went on strike over wage issues and claims of unfair labor practices.
“This is very exciting because this contract provides us with the cost savings we need to fund our vision and the initiatives to make us more competitive in the 21st Century,“ said Raley’s President Mike Teel in a press release.
The stores that will benefit from the new contract include Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods grocery stores, which operate under the Raley’s corporate umbrella.
The agreement includes wage and benefit concessions that make up what union members are calling a “fair agreement for both parties.”
The new contract requires employees to temporarily give up bonus pay for Sunday and holiday shifts, and also pay more for their health care plan, according to several outside news reports.
However, workers were able to preserve the core of their health plan, which is considered to be one of the most generous in the grocery store industry.
In exchange, Raley’s agreed to let the UFCW unionize the company’s 22 nonunion stores without any management opposition – a long awaited and much sought-after term by the union.
In its official company statement, Raley’s expressed relief over the amicable settlement, stating, “We are very happy that it has been ratified and very pleased with the new contract as it provides us with the longterm fix we wanted and needed.”
Employees from the 90-store California chain of Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill walked off their jobs Sunday, Nov. 4., claiming the company was using unfair tactics to cut their retirement and health benefits.
For nine full days, 90 percent of Gilroy’s Nob Hill staff took shifts lining the parking lot and entrance to Nob Hill in Gilroy.
To offset the strike, the Gilroy store hired 33 temporary workers and enticed shoppers who may have been hesitant to cross the picket line with doorbuster sales, according to Gilroy’s Head Cashier Ernie Gonzalez.
This was the first strike in the chain’s 77-year history.