By Bay City News Service
Contract talks between striking grocery workers and the management of Raley's and Nob Hill Foods grocery stores resumed today, according to union officials.
Talks resumed as of 10 a.m. today, but picket lines continue, according to a statement posted on the web site of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5.
"While this is a positive development, it is no time to let down our guard," the statement read. "The strength exhibited on our picket lines and our success in diverting customers to other stores will bring the company to its senses and lead to our victory."
The strike, involving an estimated 7,000 grocery workers in northern and central California, started Nov. 4 when Raley's officials implemented the company's "last, best and final" contract proposals after 15 months of negotiations.
The changes included a two-year wage freeze and the elimination of the premiums paid for employees working Sundays, nights and holidays. Raley's spokesman John Segale said at the time that Raley's urgently needed to cut costs in a "fiercely competitive" market.
He said the Sacramento-based chain, which includes Raley's, Nob Hill Foods and Bel Air stores, has closed five stores in the past year and seen the opening or expansion of 240 non-union stores in its markets since 2008. Raley's and Nob Hill Foods have more than two dozen stores located in the Bay Area.