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Rally at Alameda Nob Hill Draws Hundreds

Various labor unions from across the Bay Area came out to the Alameda store in support of those who have been on strike against Raley's-Nob Hill since Sunday.

Updated 9:17 a.m.

From teamsters to teachers, unions from across the Bay Area rallied at Alameda's Nob Hill supermarket Wednesday evening in support of employees who have been on strike since Sunday over wages and medical benefits.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 posted a message on its website Wednesday afternoon announcing that it would hold a rally at the Alameda location from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The rally came three days after Raley's and Nob Hill workers across Northern California walked off the job after the UFCW said it was unable to reach an agreement with Raley's management.

As ABC 7 Reports, the strike got heated when a communications director for the UFCW was arrested at the Alameda Nob Hill store. According to ABC 7, he was arrested after going into the store to help resolve a dispute over an employee's paycheck.

According to the Alameda police log, the comunications director entered the store and was followed, which "enraged" him. Unprovoked, he punched the victim in the face and intentionally threw the victim's phone. The victim detained the director and requested criminal prosecution.

However, according to a company spokesperson for Raley's-Nob Hill, he was arrested for assaulting an employee working at the time.

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.

However, Raley's officials rejected the allegations, saying they submitted their last and final offer four weeks ago but never heard from the union. They said they had no choice but to implement their wage package to cut costs in a "fiercely competitive" market.

As a retired clerk from Lucky's, San Lorenzo resident and Teamster John Cortesi said he understands the need for good benefits and wages.

"The retail clerks were always very good to me. If I get my pension, I'm going to back them up," he said.

Hundreds of picketers showed up Wednesday evening chanting, waving signs and making plenty of noise on the corner of Clement and Blanding avenues. They even marched through the parking lot in front of the store.

Manager Angel Ortega who has been working for Raley's-Nob Hill for 12 years has been picketing since Monday for about six hours each day.

On Wednesday, she decided to bring her 10-year-old daughter Angela out to help her better understand why they will need to cut back on their spending.

"While we're on strike we're not going to have extra things. We're going to have to hold back," she said. "I don't want to be out here any more than the company wants us to be."

They were also joined by employees Gina Emmons and her 17-year-old daughter Jessie. Emmons is a bookkeeper and Jessie is a clerk.

"We're trying to make the biggest impact in as little time as possible so we can get back to normal," Jessie said.

"I just hope it's all over soon," Emmons said. "I love my job and it's hard to be out here.

Raley's owns 128 stores in Northern California and northern Nevada as well as 78 Raley's superstores, 22 Nob Hill markets, 20 Bel Air markets and eight Food Source warehouses.

In the East Bay, there are Raley's stores in Benicia, Fremont, Newark and Pleasanton. There are Nob Hill markets in Alameda, Livermore, Martinez, San Ramon and Walnut Creek, according to the company's website.

Jenya Cassidy November 09, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Management wasn't bargaining in good faith - this strike is an unfair labor practice strike due to regressive bargaining. It's my favorite store, too - i hope they come back with the real intent to reach an agreement.
joel November 10, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Union have ruined this Country they say , did they ? greed did , not the Union ...for instance without the funds from European Co, Jeep , chrysler , Mack truck, AMC would have disappeared 30 years ago as it it the fund generated by Unions worker which allowed Renault to dump billions into AMC-Jeep , Daimler for Chrysler and Fiat ....on the funny side , most of these Co have extreme left Unions , among the result of their bargain they have 40 hours weeks some 35 , full 1 month minimum vacation , full medical care , full retirement enoughj to make romney have a heart attack , VW is one of the most profitable , so how is it possible it can work in Europe but cannot in the USA , the answer is simple , GREED . at a time CEO's are packing record earning their employee leave on food stamp . What I find quitev disturbing , no other unions come and picket with them , the Alameda fire dept , police dept , public work , port of Oakland , Teachers etc... why not are retail Employee beneath you . feel free to reply .
joel November 10, 2012 at 06:38 PM
there are several way to negotiate , attend meeting and do nothing , actively negotiating or simply pretending to. I was Executive for a company in "negotiation" for a new contract , there were none , at the end the peoples making the dimes got cents and HR got big bonus , I remember the celebration ,caviar and champagne ; we gave it to them they said , in not such polite way . That day I became the strongest UNION supporter {this does not apply for firefighter's union ,which I consider blood suckers }, that was Under Reagan .... Without Union we are back to the cotton field ,
dj November 11, 2012 at 01:25 AM
The one time I tried talking to grocery members was when the newspaper guild was on strike. They laughed at me. Oh well. I won't cross their line, but I won't be on it either.

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