Reporting Derek Shore
WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Raley’s has until midnight Saturday to reach a deal with the employees’ union, or thousands of workers could walk off the job.
It would be the first strike in the 77-year history for the grocery chain based in West Sacramento.
“I’ve been there 22 years, and I would have no problem staying another 22 years,” Raley’s employee Dave Turner said.
But after more than two decades, Turner may be walking off the job he loves at the Raley’s in Roseville.
“It’s stressful; it’s nerve-wracking. I’m scared,” said Turner.
Raley’s employees are preparing for a strike as last ditch negotiations are being made with the company and the workers’ union.
“It’s all important to me. It affects my livelihood; it affects my family,” said Turner. “I have two daughters I’m trying to put through school.”
At the center of it all is Raley’s desire to alter medical benefits that, workers say, would increase out of pocket costs, and at the same time, freeze wages.
“It starts by saying I’m going to be making a tough decision,” said Turner.
Turner showed us a letter he received from Raley’s, in part, telling him “don’t let the union fool you with false promises. I can assure you, any strike started by the union will not be a short one.”
“Trying to intimidate us, trying to influence our decisions on which way we should vote,” said Turner.
For customers, it’s bad all the way around.
“They need to come to some sort of an agreement, because both sides can lose,” shopper Kathy Becerra said.
For the first time in the company’s 77-year history, the question now is if workers will walk the picket line.
“I want to do the right thing, and I want to go back to work when the right thing is done,” said Turner.
Raley’s is the largest family-owned company in the greater Sacramento region, with stores in Northern California and Nevada.
According to the Raley’s website, it employs 13,000 people, with the average number of employees per store at 100. It owns and operates 128 stores including Raley’s, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods and Food Source stores.
The first store opened in 1935 in Placerville.