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Comment Archives: stories: Columns & Blogs: BohoBlog

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

It is a shame that people WITH a job are such ingrates. My family is doing everything we can to survive. My family member has no benefits at all. And he takes care of the disabled elderly, supporting those who have given to us. When I go to the store to buy something to support my family, YOU are standing in the way and you're not even working. Go back to work, grow some hair and deal with the challenges we all deal with. Spoiled. I admire the Raley's employees who cheerfully help despite the challenges of wage and other compensatory means of sustenance. Face it, there are people with a hell of a lot less than you and wearing a smile because it takes more integrity to work (meaning not standing around holding a sign while your peers are inside actually doing something to help the customers that support you). Keep it up. Next time you confront me with your fliers, I'll be that much more there to support the hard workers actually seeing to the needs of customers INSIDE you've not managed to annoy away. Four words: GET BACK TO WORK. Be like the rest of us and buck it the hell up. Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Because if you drive its customers away, then in your shortsight you're driving yourself out of a job. Nice going. And to all you I enflame, go ahead and hit that red button below. Because that is what I'm doing every time you confront my space going into the store to support YOU and MY family. Really, hit the red button, but it won't keep me from supporting my neighborhood store and the kind people who helped me inside after a long day of my own work. Be grateful for what you have. Amen.

12 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by TinNorCal on 11/09/2012 at 10:33 PM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

I'm just a costumer, no skin on the game but I Just took some Starbucks to the picket line! Between corporate profits and living wage and benefits for their employees, as a costumer, I side with the employees. Mr.Teel I go to your stores because the quality of your produce and because your employees give me superb costumer service, that's your competition edge! What you cannot afford is to lose my business and that is what you are doing right now.

12 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Daniela Sartori on 11/09/2012 at 8:58 PM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

Here's something to take a REAL CLOSE LOOK AT:

The Teel family "boat".

2 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by waikiki968 on 11/09/2012 at 6:17 PM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

I am in the Union and who just happened to vote against and disagree with the majority opinion to strike, hence the anonymous lack-of-identity postings.

6 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by concerned citizen on 11/09/2012 at 12:29 PM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

Sure is is easy for concerned citizen to run it mouth, let me guarantee you something mr know it all, and why not put our real name on the thread coward, I have worked in the grocery business as a service clerk, to manager, and it is easy to run your mouth an say it is a unskilled job, well I am here to tell you that you have no idea what you are talking about. There is not enough time to tell you just how skilled these people that work for these top tier grocery company's are. They order, stock, display, clean, and service the public with great skill, with very tough working hrs and conditions. You must be talking about Walmart people when you say non skilled. Come visit a save mart, or raley's, Safeway, and spend a day or two talking to the people and see just what they do big shooter.

12 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by John Lindsey in Madera on 11/09/2012 at 12:14 PM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

Actually the unions do protest these stores. Go to UFCW Local 8 website. They have been actively seeking to not only unionize grocery stores, but other establishments as well. What you don’t seem to understand is that unions keep wages up for everyone. When the union takes it’s last breath, our country will be strictly at will. Our fight is everyone’s fight.

In June of this year, Raley’s kicked all their non-union retirees off of their health benefits. No discussion. How would you feel about that. Maybe you want to go the Republican route and eliminate Social Security too. Retirees do pay toward their health benefits and Medicare on top of that. And, what’s more, they are willing to pay more to keep them. If you Google the strike, retirees are out on the picket line every day. No one is paying for our gas, time or effort. Yes, we are striking for us, yet we are showing up every day in this county to also support these workers. They work hard and deserve the same considerations as we have enjoyed for years. We are not independently rich or well off. We pay taxes and expenses just like everyone else.

And no, our jobs are not more important. Folks from every income level shop at Raley’s. I’m sure you couldn’t possibly deny that bankers, lawyers and doctors Don’t shop there, do you?

When was the last time the Union was arrested for intimidating, coercing or engaging in any unfair labor practice. I think not. Regarding net profits, again Raley’s should open their books. Save Mart did and the workers accepted less than they were asking because Save Mart was able to show them they WERE losing money.

8 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Dotherightthing on 11/09/2012 at 12:08 PM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

People hello!!! Wake up, none of this will matter soon as Walmart comes to every town across America. There will be no more save marts, raley's, safeway etc. unless all companies that sell the same products as walmart band together and pool moneys to fight them to pay a living wage, nothing will matter because Walmart will close down everyone, that is a guarantee, so next time you decide to go there and save a buck or two, just remember what is coming, no more good paying jobs that can support a normal family's living expenses, what a shame!

10 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by John on 11/09/2012 at 11:51 AM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

Well competing is a technical distinction, Raleys is in the market and so therefore are competing, just not that well as Walmart, Target, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, etc. How come your Union doesnt protest them coming into the market?

Another misconception, profit goes to the personal bank account of the owners. Businesses account for salaries as an expense in SGA (Selling and General Admininstrative), which comes out of gross profits. So the available cash flow allows Raleys to grow. Don't you want Raleys to grow? When Raleys builds a new store, it means that they hire more Unionized labor, how is that a bad thing? Doesnt that support your Union's position?

Problem with people in the Union and the Union, they are sellouts. They would rather horde the corporate wealth for the small group of people and not even share it. Unions are so hypocritical. They make the argument that they help promote the middle class, but when the company expands and creates new unionized labor opportunity which expands the middle class, fulfilling its organization mission, its now a bad thing. Go figure. Its the mentality of unions that will be its ultimate demise, but you honestly dont care. I say that because as long as you are whole financially and your retirement is sound, you dont give two sh#ts about the next generation of employees. The days of unskilled/low skilled labor getting absurd compensation that far surpass what there actually economically worth at are coming to an end. Like grains of sand slippnig through the hour glass, time is not on the Unions side.

With California having over 11% unemployment, 15% + when you account for the people who stopped looking for a job, and ultimately face it, grocery jobs are not skilled positions, there are many people who would job all over ajob that pays the current wage and benefits levels union employees get.

Last statement, and answer this question, what makes your job any more special then the customers who patronize Raleys. Many of them pay out of pocket for medical, much higher than your Unionized medical, and they seem to have adjusted fine. Everyone is paying higher medical these days, that is the world we leave in!

8 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by concerned citizen on 11/09/2012 at 11:42 AM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

Folks need to remember, Raley's profits go entirely to the family; no investors, no Wall Street. Their owner, Joyce, is a Billionaire who has been consistently on Forbes list with a net worth of over 1.1 billion. The union has asked them to show them the books so they would have a real reference point for transparent negotiations. Raley's has refused. They refuse because they are private and those figures are not available to the public. If they really are as bad off as they say, they would be happy to share that information. And if you want to turn the tables around, Raley's has agreed to every contract since they unionized. Which could mean they have been trying to destroy Safeway, etc. for years. Why would they now hire a known union buster from Oregon if they wanted to act in good faith? It doesn't take a mental giant to figure that one out. Tom Raley built his empire with hard work and determination. Apparently the owners don't want to suffer any economic personal loss either. So there we are, the workers vs Goliath. Google Raley's history; they have been picking up deals for years, purchasing failing supermarkets, turning a profit and then selling those stores. They just built the Petaluma store two years ago. No money? Too expensive to compete? Do the math yourself. Apparently they are competing just fine. Or maybe they should stop acquiring and building new stores and take care of the ones they have and the employees that have trusted them to take care of them. Nuff said.

15 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Dotherightthing on 11/09/2012 at 11:15 AM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

I stand corrected, its 8,000 employees not 7,000. So the cost is much higher!

Posted by concerned citizen on 11/09/2012 at 11:03 AM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

Lets look at the math....

$3 billion in sales does not equal $3 billion in profit, thats business 101. Lets say Raleys net profit margin is 1.0%, which is about the norm for a unionized grocery store in CA. That would be $30 million in profit for the company and/or free cash flow. So lets assume the above mention information about the cost of insurance per week is correct. Since this is an example, I will assume that each employee must pay $20 per week more than they do now. The article stated 7,000 union members. 7,000 x $1,040 ($20 x 52 weeks per year) = $7.28 million. $30 million - $7.28 = $22.720 million net profit. The difference between the $22.720 million and $30 million results in a 25% decrease in profit margin, which would make the profit margin 0.75% (I am speculating, but if there are other costs associated with the contract it would further decrease profitability).

Just for illustrative purposes, a saving rate at a good bank is about 1%. Raleys new profit is 0.75%. If Raleys ever wanted to get investor money to expand and/or make capital improvements, they are not looking that good as an overall investment. Now the Union will argue that the company is able to make the payment to fund their medical, but what they dont understand, the increased competition in the market via Target, Walmart, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and the increasing boutique grocery stores that seem to pop up all over northern california because the barriers to entry for grocery is extremely low, is that Raleys long term profitability decreases as competition increases, the pie splice gets smaller so to speak. From an accounting perspective, the long term fixed cost maybe easier on the books, but the reality is a company needs to adapt almost daily as opposed to every 3 years, a contract length. I would bet you that Raleys store has lost profitability over the last 5 consecutive years for (1) people are trading down to value stores (face it, people need to squeeze their pennies to pay for their roof over their head, kids education, etc. just like union employees) and (2) lost market share translates into squeezed profit margins. No company will make it if it doesnt make profit, period, unless you want the government or a non-profit to run everything.

14 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by concern citizen on 11/09/2012 at 10:42 AM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

My heart is with the company that has provided me a career for more than 18 years. When times were good, the company was generous. Now, when times are bad it's time to band together as a team. Just yesterday I was at a store and the union was telling customers to go shop at Safeway. When I asked why, one person sold me it was because Safeway had just agreed to a contract that includes the retirement benefit that is the sticking point in the Raley's strike. Ask yourself why would Safeway do this? My opinion is Safeway ( international public company ) can afford to lose money with this contract in order to pull customers from Raley's and hopefully run Raley's out of business. Next contract negotiation ( I'll bet will take away retirement benefits ), but they are betting Raley's won't be around.
Think long-term.

14 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by BeLoyal on 11/09/2012 at 7:55 AM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

I wish all the people pro union and others would READ the contract the Union has not been truthful. Also a union rep at the Antioch store did not have the right to touch an employee even if he did not mean too he needs to stay out of her space. He knows who he is and he should be ashamed of himself. She read the contract she has been a supporter of the union was even asked to be a rep but she declined. Today she is doing what is right for her and her family

10 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by ziggy on 11/09/2012 at 7:40 AM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

You can't retire until you're 62??? Too f...'n bad. I don't see any way I will EVER be able to retire. No pension waiting for me. Social Security is poverty. I don't have health care with my current worker but I like my job and buy my own. If I don't like it I'll go find another job. But I would NEVER be part of, or support, a union. Unions are what's killing this country and they have to go. And they WILL go. You people are living in a delusion. Go work somewhere else. Keep it up and you'll have no job at all. I'll continue to shop at Nob Hill. You don't intimidate me.

26 likes, 41 dislikes
Posted by Scorpion on 11/08/2012 at 8:34 PM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

i'm all for higher wages and good benefits but raley's could be getting ready to fire all their employees and higher the highly skilled (not) walmart workers who leave after 6 months. this is when all businesses make the remaining workers after downsizing make up the difference by having them do more work for the same or less pay. seems labor won't have much power until wages get driven down to nearly a par with china.

10 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by nubwaxer on 11/08/2012 at 8:19 PM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

Be Loyal is right. Margins are low and overhead is high. The truth of the matter is the UNION has only THE UNIONS best interest in mind. Raleys has to pay the union to administer union employees health care costs, which is higher than average, if Raleys were able to administer the healthcare themselves they could lower overhead costs. But of course the union would lose money that way, so they fight it. Is it too much to ask Union Employees of Raleys to contribute $14-$18 a week for medical benefits? The Union Employees have been too spoiled for too long. Do the research and see what most Americans who are fortunate enough to even have coverage pay, I guarantee it is far more than $18 per week. Where was the UNION when NON UNION retailers such as Wal Mart, Target, Trader Joes, etc. came to California? It's had to stay competitive with these retailers taking more and more grocery sales while paying a minimum wage. As a Grocery employee myself, I feel the offer is more than fair that Raleys is offering. There are far too many people out of work with no benefits at all that would feel lucky to have the union employees strife! Raleys never PROMISED any employee lifetime medical benefits, the only PROMISE is the contract agreed upon by Raleys and the Union which expires every few years and has to be RENEGOTIATED. NOTHING LASTS FOREVER! The only thing this strike is doing is sending customers to the competition, and they may never come back,so guess what striking may not have a company to come back to because you and the union are helping to put Raleys out of business. Remember a Company called ALBERTSONS who's employees went on strike? Where are they now? So when you do put Raleys out of business have fun getting a job at Safeway for $9.95 an hour because they won't rehire you as a Journeyman clerk.

31 likes, 22 dislikes
Posted by Truth Hurts on 11/08/2012 at 8:13 PM

Re: “Press Democrat Ownership Includes Sandy Weill, Norma Person, Jean Schulz, More

Your power as a consumer is your only means with which to show your dissatisfaction with the new ownership, or even part of that new ownership.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Jacob Bayless on 11/08/2012 at 7:50 PM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

I'm just a Raley's customer - but I love the store & go out of my way to shop there for the excellent produce, clean quarters & the friendly staff. I've weighed the arguments and won't cross the strike line, in a show of support to the workers.

43 likes, 16 dislikes
Posted by dp on 11/08/2012 at 6:25 PM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

I am quite upset by your terse reply to this long and heartfelt outpouring from a dedicated and now distraught employee. For someone trying to pay for a roof to live under, get kids through school, keep up insurance payments--three billion in sales is an astronomical figure. But apparently you are more worried about parsing words than understanding the extreme duress your demands are placing on working families. Where is your heart, BeLoyal?

23 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by WorkingClassWarrior on 11/08/2012 at 5:19 PM

Re: “Is Raley's Going the Way of Walmart?: Grocery Strike Goes Into Day Four

“Our family to yours-a Raley’s odyssey”

What has lead to the fine family business known as Raley’s to turn from one of the best places in America to work, to one where the grandson would give the food away rather than pay his grandfather’s employees??

Unlike his grandfather & mother, he grew up in an ivory tower, never having to stock shelves or rub elbows w/ the help.. His mother, having grown up in the store & grandfather not only saw us as employees but as friends, family and associates, having grown together, married and raised families etc together..

Perhaps we should feel sorry for the man now having to run a company he did not create & the burdens he is struggling to carry.. But that is hard to do when single mothers are forced to choose between feeding their children & standing up for themselves..

From high above in the ivory tower a $100 a week seems a mere pittance, but for those living week by week it is the difference between supporting ourselves & getting support from the state….

And sadly many do.. Yes, there are many employees already qualified for services including food stamps, AFDC, etc…

For many of us that have been w/ and loved this company for decades being forced to choose between our own self interest and the personal ambitions of our founders grandson is a bitter pill indeed………

For we built this company with pride and being the best at serving the needs of our customers and our employees..

I hope and pray that those around him, those that grew up in the stores, those for whom had there been no union, as Michael seems to want, they themselves would not be where they are today…

They know who they are and we expect them to speak out, not only on our behalf, but their own..

Michael is a great person, whom I have met many times, so I don’t think it is to much for “us” to ask him to do the right thing.. As we are eager to do right by him, as we have done for his grandfather for 77 years…

We have employees on the street and customers crossing the street but we can get back to work now before more damage is done…

I ask that Michael consider this, as well all friends, family & shoppers write Michael Teel and request that he allow us to work together again, as his family has always done..

Mr Loyal Employee

34 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by MrLoyalEmployee on 11/08/2012 at 4:32 PM

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