Haggen fires Central Coast employees with disabilities

July 29, 2015

Haggen 2Grocery chain Haggen fired developmentally disabled employees as part of its recent string of Central Coast layoffs, a Santa Barbara-based advocacy organization alleges. [KEYT]

Earlier this year, Haggen a Washington-based company purchased 146 Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions and Safeway stores, some of which are located on the Central Coast. As Haggen has taken over operation of the stores, it has laid off dozens of Central Coast workers and reduced the hours of other employees. The company also raised grocery prices.

PathPoint, a Santa Barbara-based organization that helps disabled people find work, announced Tuesday that 17 of the Central Coast workers Haggen laid off were developmentally disabled clerks. Haggen fired 14 developmentally disabled clerks in Santa Barbara County and three in San Luis Obispo County.

Additionally, two developmentally disabled clerks lost their jobs in Ventura County.

PathPoint helped place the workers in positions at Albertsons and Vons before Haggen took over the grocery stores. One of the developmentally disabled clerks who was fired had been at the job for 18 years.

The advocacy organization is now attempting to find jobs for the newly unemployed disabled workers. An agreement exists, though, between Haggen and Albertsons and Vons that employees must wait a year before they can leave the Washington chain for work with the other two supermarkets.

A local union has already filed several grievances over the layoffs and work reductions.

Haggen Pacific Southwest CEO Bill Shaner responded with a statement about recent firings.

“To ensure we’re operating as efficiently as possible, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily cut back on staffing at our stores, with specific reductions varying by store. We value the contributions these employees have made and are committed to treating all employees respectfully and professionally through this transition.”


Screw Haggen. I will do my shopping anywhere and everywhere else. I dont give a damn what the excuse is, take better care of your employees


I think Haggen’s management and California’s government go to the same school…the “School of What NOT to do for Success”. Haggens fires developmentally disabled workers, raises prices, etc. CA government raises taxes, increases regulations, and the worst one, trying to solve the world’s nonexistent “climate change” problem by jamming MORE environmental regulations down our throat.


You commenters are absurd. Haggen took over and business got cut in half. What do you want them to do, keep all the disable people on and fire the 20 year employees who actually pull their weight? Just to make you happy? When business gets cut in half you let go half your employees. The least productive and the new employees go first. That’s reality. If you don’t like that, don’t live in a capitalistic country.


Perhaps “Haggen” can learn why so much of its business was lost and take steps to regain it? That’s a whole lot healthier than hacking-n-slashing employees…


big choc one of those disabled employees worked for the Hag for 18 years. And to say the being disabled you are the least productive, SCREW YOU. How dare you assume that because you have a disability you are somehow less.

You don’t know their disability or their work habits, I know many able bodied people who do not pull their weight and the union protects people like that.


And to say the being disabled you are the least productive, SCREW YOU. How dare you assume that because you have a disability you are somehow less.


Isn’t that the very definition of disabled in a business context, being able to do “less”? If you were able to to equal or more in a business context why would you be a disabled hire?

Reality check.


They should write a book on how NOT to get customers..

Mr. Holly

Well it looks like Atascadero may have another empty market. I wonder if WalMart will ever open? We heard not too long ago that everything was proceeding smoothly but it’s been awfully quiet lately and nothing is happening. I wonder if the recent article in the Trib regarding SLOCOG loosing its funding for future projects has put the brakes on for the roundabouts. The city’s leadership has assured us that SLOCOG would cover the error that they had made regarding the estimated costs for those roundabouts. Now what? I guess more fee increases, additional bonds or taxes? Which will it be?


I am making an assumption the Albertsons, Safeway and Von’s stores purchased by Haggen were profitable otherwise it would have been a pretty dumb acquisition for them. So keeping with this assumption, cutting hours and laying off current employees is rhetoric and Haggen’s management is blowing smoke up everyone’s fanny. I hope our community will come together and not patronize these stores (which I also realize will hurt the remaining employees which is very unfortunate).


Your assumption is incorrect.


Yes you are correct that they were profitable but I can tell you that in Paso, after Haggen took over, business fell off a cliff. Why? Prices.



While some of the stores Haggen purchased were profitable (the Albertson’s in Paso was one), many were not.

There is NO WAY, Vons and Albertsons sold off only profitable locations and kept the losers for themselves. They unloaded a lot of undesirables in the sale (Haggen didn’t do a very good job of evaluating what they were getting in the bulk sale).

They are now suffering from a multitude of problems.

There is no easy fix, IF it can be “fixed” at all, who knows if they’re financially strong enough to weather the storm, time will tell.

Clearly someone did not do their homework and the employees are the ones who are suffering. It’s a real shame.


When you see customers fall off, it is still less profitable than it was before. That was the observation.


Vons/Albertsons did not choose the stores to be kept or sold. This was determined by the anti-trust division of the FTC based on the number and location of stores in each area. And it is to primarily to protect those with limited transportation options such as the poor and elderly. The worst quality, most expensive supermarket I’ve been in was the Bad Boy Market (no kidding) on Shaw in Fresno on the way to The Sierras. The parking lot was empty but the store was full, of the poor and the elderly from the immediate high-density apartment neighborhood.


According to many here, the stores are empty. If that is the case, they are no longer profitable. You are also not aware of the ability of Haggens to buy goods at the same price that Albertsons/Vons can due to overall size. We also don’t know if they have a good distribution system set up in California yet which can also add to cost. Finally, if they wanted a higher return on their investment than what the sellers had obtained, why should they not pursue that? If they analyzed the stores and found them to be overstaffed, should it stay that way? That only happens in Government.


Bullying the disabled is a great way to win the minds and hearts of your customers.


Same goes for Los Angeles. My friends brother, David Beltram is a high-functioning man with Down Syndrome who worked at a Vons in So. California or 20 years. He loved working there, loved the customers and took pride in a job well done. As soon as Haggen took over, the laid David off (along with every other developmentally disabled worker.)


slocalgal, sorry to hear about David losing his job.

But for the grace of god go I.

It could happen to anyone of us for any number of reason, car accident, blood clot goes to the brain ect.

I now alot of able bodied people who are lazy and the union protects them, being disabled do not mean 2nd class. I find the folks who work at TJ’s very nice people who do a job and get paid for doing it.

AG Albertson’s had a very nice young man who was disabled work for them. He got along with other employees, customers, was on time, clean and polite, what else do you want in an employee?

I find The Hag to be the bottom of the barrel employer, and I hope they find it difficult to find employees. I hope David finds another job with someone who will appreciate what he brings to the table.


OK that pretty much cinches it for me. Hagens you have lost me for good. Hello Vons


Unless you’re in Paso because unfortunately Vons is now Haggen.

And check out their dismal reviews on yelp. Looks like the CCN commenters aren’t the only ones who think Haggen is awful.


Vons in SLO is still a Vons.


If you really like Vons, drive to Atascadero. We loved Vons and now, even though no last minute trips, plan and go to Atascadero.

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