By Tony Lopez

WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Raley’s workers were voting Monday night on whether to approve a walk-out.

If they strike, Raley’s has said it will hire replacement workers.

In its 77-year history, Raley’s has never had a strike. But Monday the West Sacramento-based grocery chain was closer than ever and you could cut the tension with a knife.

“We think it’s unnecessary and it’s uncalled for,” Raley’s spokesman John Segale said.

But it just might happen.

“We are prepared for a strike,” he said. “We have to lower our operating costs given the economy, given the competitive environment that faces the grocery industry today.”

To do that, Raley’s is asking its workers to pay about $60 a month to help cover health care costs.

It also wants to get rid of Sunday and holiday bonus pay for new employees.

But after nine months of negotiating – no deal.

“I just hope they come up with some kind of agreement,” one worker said.

He was on his way to the downtown Sacramento Holiday Inn to vote “no” on authorizing a strike.

“Me and my girlfriend work here and it’s all we have, so we really can’t afford a strike,” he said.

Others say they can’t afford not to strike.

A representative with the United Food and Commercial Workers union told CBS13 that strike vote results will be made public late Monday night or early Tuesday.

A yes vote on a strike doesn’t mean it’ll happen. The union says it will simply give it more power at the bargaining table.

But there are plenty of workers who are nervous it could backfire.


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