Union files grievances against Haggen, Vons, Albertsons

August 25, 2015

Haggen 2A Southern California union has filed grievances against three grocery chains over layoffs, cuts in pay and benefits and other alleged violations of collective bargaining agreements that have occurred in the aftermath of Haggen purchasing numerous Vons and Albertsons stores.

Earlier this year, Haggen, a Washington-based company bought 146 Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions and Safeway stores, some of which are located on the Central Coast. Haggen has since fired dozens of Central Coast workers and reduced the hours of other employees. The company has raised grocery prices, as well.

Haggen announced earlier this month that it plans to close 22 stores and fire as many as 1,100 employees, according to a news release issued by UFCW Local 770. The union stated in the press release it now believes Haggen planned all along to shut down and sell those stores.

The union announced it filed grievances against Haggen, Vons and Albertsons for illegally firing and reducing hours, as well as failing to fully inform employees about job protections. UFCW Local 770 accuses all three grocery chains of fraud, misrepresentation and violation of contract.

The grievances specifically allege the grocers have allowed senior workers to lose their jobs and/or their seniority. Jobs, wages, benefits and seniority were protected under a collective bargaining agreement on the sale of the grocery stores and the implementation of the sale, the union alleges.

“We will not stand idly by as management tries to pull the wool over their employees’ eyes,” said UFCW Local 770 President Rick Icaza. “These companies have misled and mistreated their employees either through gross self-interest or gross incompetence, either of which is unacceptable. Real people are suffering loss of wages, health care, seniority and outright loss of their jobs.”

UFCW Local 770 is based in Los Angeles, but it has an office in Arroyo Grande. The union represents retail food workers, as well as barbers, beauticians and employees of pharmacies and laboratories.

The union’s collective bargaining director, Kathy Finn, said last month the union had already filed  several grievances over layoffs, work reductions and violations of seniority provisions.



  1. Rich in MB says:

    Boo Hoo….I’m to feel bad that there are a few less Union dues going to the Dem machine…ha ha ha…good riddence.

    (-5) 7 Total Votes - 1 up - 6 down
  2. agag1 says:

    More regulation–just for grocery workers…

    “In related news, California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a bill which aims to protect grocery workers from being fired due to changes in store ownership. The bill (AB 359), which was strongly backed by labor groups including UFCW, mandates that grocery store employees working in stores of at least 15,000 square feet cannot be fired during a 90-day transition period if the grocery store is undergoing a change of ownership. After the transition period, the new employer must provide a written performance evaluation and consider an offer of continued employment following a satisfactory evaluation. However, employers would retain the right to terminate an employee for cause at any time during and following the transition period. The bill is the first statewide law in the country requiring grocery stores to keep employees while they undergo a change in ownership.”
    – See more at: http://www.progressivegrocer.com/industry-news-trends/regional-supermarket-chains/union-files-grievance-charges-against-haggen-vons-and-albertsons#sthash.CQk9xrlL.dpuf

    (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  3. r0y says:

    A healthy grocery store should make near $50,000 a day in sales. A surviving grocery store should make around $30,000 a day. The Los Osos store did about $9,000. This is before costs, etc. There was NO WAY to make that work. Sorry, everyone got fired. Rinse. Repeat.

    I’m curious what the numbers were prior to the sale; and I don’t mean inflated pre-sale numbers, I mean the year or two before the sale.

    (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
  4. racket says:

    Alberstsons and Vons likely sold their underperforming stores. I very seriously doubt they cherry-picked their best ones and delivered them to Haggen at a firesale price.

    (12) 22 Total Votes - 17 up - 5 down
  5. racket says:

    First we say “Haggen’s is crap, their prices are crap, and I won’t shop there.”

    Then we act surprised when they close the store.

    Actions have consequences.

    (17) 29 Total Votes - 23 up - 6 down
    • bobfromsanluis says:

      Haggen isn’t “crap”; they really tried to make the stores something special in cleaning them up, stocking them with really good merchandise and trying to staff the stores with enough help to take care of the customers; their downfall, so far, has been their pricing structure. Most people want to spend as little as possible for most of the basic foods they buy, a fact that Haggen did not take in consideration when deciding which stores to purchase. Buying a store in a community that is serving basic food needs for average families or in areas that don’t have much disposable income is only going to work if you continue with the same basic model. Hagen’s model will most likely work in areas that have a higher income base, but for a “normal” type grocery store model, Haggen is going to have a rough time keeping their sales numbers up. Apparently they did not do the research for each location, or they thought they could make the model work even in underperforming areas, or, once again, they did some of this on purpose.

      (5) 15 Total Votes - 10 up - 5 down
  6. bobfromsanluis says:

    Not to toot my own horn too much, but this is happening pretty much as one scenario as I predicted could happen when this deal first went through. Apparently Haggen was funded by someone in order to make this purchase expanding from 18 stores to over 150, and that person or group might just be a “vulture capitalist”, kind of like Mitt Romney, who has purchased many many companies so that he could over-leverage them to get loans against their value, then sell out any and all of the “good parts” (in this case, perhaps selling some of the better stores back to the same company they were bought from, Albertson’s, or Vons) and also “unloading” the most senior employees who get paid the most, have the most vacation time that has to be paid, and as they get older, require more healthcare costs.
    Capitalism at its most ruthless, uncaring basic level; make money at any and all costs, the impacts to those who actually do the real work don’t matter in the least. Precisely why most CEOs must be sociopaths … to do things like this and still be able to sleep at night.

    I sincerely hope that there is some sort of conspiracy that gets unearthed showing that this was the plan all along, and that someone has to pay the price for it.

    (-2) 54 Total Votes - 26 up - 28 down
    • pasoparent5 says:

      OK Bob. Please do not toot your own horn because you forgot that many of us–probably most–are paying “more healthcare costs” not because we’re “older” but because of Obamacare.

      I’m sure you prefer government-run health care with higher deductibles, and fewer benefits but I do not.

      And you know what’s really “ruthless and uncaring?” The so-called Affordable (HA–what a joke!) Care Act rammed through Congress by your party and your president.

      (17) 35 Total Votes - 26 up - 9 down
    • r0y says:

      Yes, bob, because those evil “vulture capitalists” would never, EVER want an investment to work out and profit. Nope. Build them up, take a loan and let them fail? Well, bob, what happens with the loan? It magically does not get paid back?

      Just think, without capitalism, we’d not be here on an internet, using a computer, having a free discussion with fools and idiots. Amazing.

      How’s that Soviet internet coming along? Like those Cuban computers? How about those awesome Chinese cellphones? (no not the ones they manufacture for capitalists, but the ones they invented under communism).

      How about all those excellent break-through’s in medicine and agriculture? Yeah, capitalism is totally evil. I completely see the evidence all around me.

      (4) 16 Total Votes - 10 up - 6 down
      • bobfromsanluis says:

        r0y: “Well, bob, what happens with the loan? It magically does not get paid back?”
        When you are gutting a company by over-leveraging with excessive loan packages, having picked out the “good” parts and sold them off, yeah, they sometimes do let those now-dying companies go bankrupt, and sometimes the loans “magically do not get paid back”.

        Capitalism can be a very useful system, a lot of great things have become reality due to someone seeing a need and filling it, or even inventing something totally new and then creating a demand for it, and investors lining up to willingly risk their capital. But capitalism is far from perfect; anyone who has ever had to deal with their bank charging excessive fees, dealt with a mortgage company that has misplaced loan documents and all sorts of other dealings with companies that behave in a less than forthright manner can tell you (if you don’t already know) that without any regulation governing how companies have to follow the law, there would be massive monopolies that would sell you contaminated goods, mislabeled items, unsafe products and charge you with all sorts of hidden fees.

        If you cannot see that a well-regulated market is what keeps our society “safe”, then your blinders to libertarian ideals are cinched on a little too tight. I do not advocate any sort of over-throw of capitalism, and the examples you have furnished as sort of an alternative to capitalism are a real stretch to try and bolster your argument. Russia is dealing with the leftover corruption of their years of a totalitarian state that was erroneously labeled as “socialism”; China has the same problem, except they called themselves “communists”, but were (and by all accounts still are) another example of a corrupt totalitarian structure.

        If you want to see what I would have America strive to emulate, check out the very regulated, very well run countries in the Scandinavia area of northern Europe; most of those countries operate in a manner described as “Socialist Democratic”, which means that private industry still operates without the government telling them what to do, it does keep close tabs on how they do it, ensuring that the citizens are not taken advantage of, and that the companies do follow the laws. Capitalism done better.

        (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  7. achillesheal says:

    Sounds as though Haggen is in business to make a profit. How egregious!

    (10) 36 Total Votes - 23 up - 13 down
    • kayaknut says:

      Yes, Haggen is wanting to make a profit so they can return money to their investors, too bad the government doesn’t think they same way, to make a profit and return money to their investors, the taxpayers, instead they just try to figure ways to extract more money from them and show nothing good in return.

      (8) 18 Total Votes - 13 up - 5 down
  8. Paso_Guy says:

    “Crying out loud”………..that is the definition of a labor grievance. The union can now feel good about collecting $ and addressing the rank and files complaints, complaints they can do absolutely nothing about. Businesses fail and the collateral damage is a loss of jobs.

    (-5) 45 Total Votes - 20 up - 25 down
    • hijinks says:

      You clearly know nothing about what a “labor grievance” is. It is a formal complaint, like a lawsuit, filed against another party. It sets in motion a process which involves first, sitting down and trying to work out a solution, then, if that fails, an arbitration hearing before one or more arbitrators sitting as judges. In other words, a hearing that’s like the trial in a lawsuit. If the claims are valid, and the arbitrator so finds, this leads to corrective orders and/or punitive measures against the losing party. Grievance process keeps all this stuff out of the courts, which saves taxpayers money. Far from “crying out loud,” this is something that actually finds solutions to problems. But, then, if you get your information about everything “union” from Faux News … you wouldn’t know that, would you?

      (-1) 49 Total Votes - 24 up - 25 down
      • Paso_Guy says:

        Back in the 70’s I drove a ups truck. There was a point I went to the union (Teamsters local 396) to file a grievance, I had a legitimate complaint. My experience was no better than ” crying out loud”, so I will stick by that.

        What I learned was that unions ( this one anyway) will only truly go to bat when there is something in it for them and in my case there wasn’t.

        It is interesting to me that you made some air-headed assumptions about me, like you know me and my habits. I got my info from my own experience, not some TV show.

        One of us is acting stupid and it ain’t me.

        (12) 44 Total Votes - 28 up - 16 down
    • Sandman619 says:

      It doesn’t appear that the grocers were going to close these stores because of poor sales, if that were the case then they would have probably done so before the divestment in properties. Haggen’s gave no indication that they would close the stores when they took them over, but suddenly changed their pricing, in some reports from higher priced stores to overly high priced stores. Haggen’s ability to scale in size is definitely an issue that could kill their entire chain now. Additionally, Haggen’s Safeway-Vons & Albertsons have this odd non-compete contract that laid off employees are claiming is preventing them from gaining employment from other local employers like Albertson’s & Safeway-Vons. There could very well be other players in this short score.

      (20) 22 Total Votes - 21 up - 1 down
      • hotgrandma says:

        (way too hot in north county today)

        Where is the ACLU? Why aren’t they protecting the workers right to work? This is an insane situation. I have made many complaints to Haggens speaking as a customer and the response is about as canned and sad as I have encountered.

        (-3) 19 Total Votes - 8 up - 11 down
        • achillesheal says:

          4 unalienable rights, the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the right to work. There are 90M people in the US that are being deprived of that right currently.

          (0) 16 Total Votes - 8 up - 8 down
      • Paso_Guy says:

        This is the root of their problem. Would you float them a loan for inventory?


        (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down

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