Haggen laying off dozens of workers, union filing grievances

July 16, 2015

By KAREN VELIE

Haggen, a Washington-based chain of grocery stores that recently purchased 83 new stores in California, has laid off dozens of Central Coast workers in the past few days while other employees were moved from full-time to part-time hours.

Haggen 2

Earlier this year, Haggen bought 146 Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions and Safeway stores. Employees retained their union contracts and were assured the company would do whatever it took to make the takeover successful.

Haggen Southwest CEO Bill Shaner blames competition from other grocery retailers for Haggen’s failures to retain customers.

“As we introduce Haggen throughout Southern California, Arizona and Nevada, our challenge is to establish and grow the brand in new markets, while transitioning former Albertsons/Vons customers,” Shaner said. “The competitive activity launched in response to our entry into the marketplace – while expected – has been unprecedented.”

However, some former customers said they changed grocery stores after Haggen increased pricing significantly. The customer base has fallen by almost 50 percent in some stores, one clerk said.

Store officials reacted with layoffs and terminations at Central Coast stores in Paso Robles, Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande, Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Barbara and Los Osos. In Paso Robles, Haggen laid off 11 employees and cut the hours of 12 employees.

One employee who has worked in a San Luis Obispo County store since the 1980s, said he was informed over the weekend that his hours would be cut from full to part-time. He questions if the union is doing all it can to protect local Haggen employees.

Local UFCW officials said Haggen is trying to correct pricing issues and bring customers back.

“They assured us they will do whatever it takes to make it successful,” said Kathy Finn, the Local UFCW 770 director of collective bargaining. “They need to get it under control, and not by cutting staff.”

The union has responded to the current layoffs and hourly reductions by examining contracts and in some cases, filing grievances.

“We have already filed several grievances,” Finn said. “There are seniority provisions in place to protect employees. Layoffs and reductions have to be done by seniority.”

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sezlittle1

I do not see higher prices. They just dont have really low prices on overly processed crappy food that is available at every grocery and drug store. Atleast Haggans is a family run store that intends on delivering quality at good prices. When I buy canned veggies I would rather pay $1.19 a can for quality veggies instead of veggies at 99 cents that tastes like a can.


SamLouis

Bull manure.


Red Delicious apples are $.50/pound at Foods for Less. They’re $1.59/pound at Haggen. Haggen bananas are more than double the price of Trader Joe’s. Coffee is more than twice that of TJ’s. Cereal (shredded wheat) is 40% less at TJ’s then at Haggen.


BeenThereDoneThat

The percentages I quoted in my early post, where in regards to name brand non-specialty items. You are the kind of customer stores LOVE!! They don’t know the difference and will pay anything.


SamLouis

Hey Haggen, remember Larry’s Markets? The upscale chain in Washington State that died about 10 years ago?


SamLouis

I wish that Haggen would move out of the Marsh/Johnson location so that a Vallarta Supermarket could open in that location. A Vallarta would draw customers all the way from San Miguel and San Simeon to Pismo Beach. It would kill in SLO! Be gone, Haggen…


SamLouis

Haggen is a joke. Their prices (at least at their Marsh/Johnson store) are often literally double (or more) than Foods for Less or Trader Joe’s. I avoid that store like the plague…


Slowerfaster

Category killers. Corporate monsters.


That’s what unbridled capitalism breeds.


Pope Francis I calls it, “the Dung of the Devil “, and most of you poor suckers are lapping it up like it’s gold.


He’s right, and you’re wrong. You’ll go to your death being an idiot.


the guy paso

SF, it looks to me that the market is taking care of a problem that was created by your beloved government. Please, take a happy pill.


moderator

a government of people by people is my government , who is yours?


NorCoMod

Whatever!


SamLouis

No Francis did not call it that. Here is what he actually said:


“…And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called “the dung of the devil”. An unfettered pursuit of money rules…”


Rambunctious

Ralphs is the only place to shop.


BeenThereDoneThat

They came (and went) in Paso about 12 years ago. Same problem as Haggen. Hey maybe good news. They went away so maybe Haggen will to!!


MaryMalone

Someone should do a re-do of the song “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” with Haggan in mind.


I mean, the tag line (“How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” ends with an easy rhymer (pay, lay, okay, bray, say, flay, fray, hay, jay, stray…the list is endless!


Kalalau

Haggens…you did not do your homework!! Prior to purchasing these stores….you should have figured out what the locals could afford….and price accordingly…IF it was in your budget to run a store in this locale….given also the competition…..you should have figured out how to price to be competitive AND make a profit for your company.

We LIKED what we had here….and you did NOT make it better for the consumer on a budget. Shame on you for not doing better strategic planning…..someone…and maybe more someones on the top of Haggens needs to be fired!!


sbjcl

Who is the idiot running Haggens. Didn’t take long to piss off all the Albertsons shoppers with their ridiculous prices. We need a Food for Less in that store.


MaryMalone

Their mothers never taught them the old saying, “A first impression is the last impression.”


ToHellinaHandBasket

“Haggen Southwest CEO Bill Shaner blames competition from other grocery retailers for Haggen’s failures to retain customers”.


NEWSFLASH Mr. Shaner.That response is a load of CRAP!


I live in Atascadero and was very satisfied with our Albertsons. Great layout, Great prices, Great Employees! Better than the yahoo’s you now have [minus original] Albertsons employees still there. Your people are rude and condescending. No relationship building qualities from them as was before.


People don’t like change as a general rule. Especially when it comes at the expense of customer care and higher prices. Albertsons in A-town had customer care as well as competitive pricing. It was like a family.


Food for Less and Von’s welcomes your business here as their shoppers have increased 4 fold. Want to know why? Of course you don’t. But it’s all mentioned above. Your store sucks. Period! I pass by your store in the morning as well as the evening on my way to and from work. What I used to see as a jammed parking lot of happy shoppers, has dwindled quite significantly. I just shake my head and chuckle.


Someone told me a few weeks ago that you were only going to be here for a year and then close. Is that true? That person happens to be in the grocery business. It meant to me that you knew full well that it wasn’t going to work out in the first place but that you would “attempt” to make a huge profit off of the backs of hard working people before you pull the plug and move elsewhere. Profits before people? Really? Guess what Mr. Shaner. We the people are much smarter than you perceive us to be. I say close now. We don’t want you here.


In closing I’d like to ask; Stop using the phrase “Hello Haggen, Goodbye Hassle” on your weekly circular. It is absolutely insulting to those of us who would rather have Albertssons back here instead of a condescending high minded/high priced grocery store.


r0y

When you say, “your people are rude and condescending” – you do realize that those are YOUR NEIGHBORS who have worked there when it was Albertsons? I know for a FACT that Haggen did NOT bring in people from Washington to staff the stores they were asked to buy by the FTC.


MaryMalone

Before Evil Haggan, the two stores where I do almost all of my majority of my shopping were Albertson’s and Smart and Final, with a weekly foray to TJs and a local produce stand.


Now I mainly shop at Smart and Final, TJs and the local produce stand.


I’ll be damned if I’m going to play the sucker in Haggan’s game.