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UFCW Strongly Against Proposed Walmart Neighborhood Markets

Walmart wants to build grocery stores in Pleasanton and San Ramon but is facing resistance from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union is strongly against Walmart Neighborhood Markets coming to Northern California, the union said in a press release Wednesday.

Walmart is looking to bring its grocery store chain to Bay Area cities, including Pleasanton and San Ramon. There are currently 167 Walmart Neighborhood Markets nationwide, selling everything one would find in a regular grocery store, according to the Walmart website.

What concerns the union is, unlike Safeway and Lucky's, workers at Walmart Neighborhood Markets aren't unionized.

"Walmart's new move into the traditional grocery store sector is a departure in tactics on their part and a direct threat to our members in the grocery industry," said Ron Lind, President of UFCW Local 5. "Thousands of good jobs and the livelihood of tens of thousands of our members are jeopardized by Walmart's plans. We intend on fighting this threat with every ounce of our strength."

In Pleasanton, the City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night to allow plans for a Walmart Neighborhood Market to move forward. If ultimately approved, it will go into the Meadow Plaza Shopping Center, where Nob Hill Foods once was. But that decision is expected to be appealed by Walmart opponents, which means a final determination isn't likely for a couple months.

The UFCW sees the move by Walmart to Pleasanton as symbolic, with the city being the home of Safeway's corporate headquarters.

"Walmart may be taking the fight directly to the center of the unionized grocery industry in Northern California but we will make sure the industry continues to provide good pay and benefits for workers," said John Roe, a Local 5 member and Safeway employee. "We're not going to let them waltz in and destroy a lot of good jobs and families in the process."

In San Ramon, the city learned last week that Walmart has reached out for construction bids to build a store in the approximately 55,000-square-foot vacant space in the Country Club Village Shopping Center.

"They are looking to end the bidding by the end of the month and open by the end of the year," said Marc Fontes, San Ramon's economic development director.

The Walmart Neighborhood Market in San Ramon has already faced resistance from the public. On Wednesday, a small group from San Ramon for Small Growth protested outside the empty storefront where the grocery store wants to move, the Contra Costa Times reported.

Dave Enright March 27, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Wake up yourself, Pilar. Walmart and others like them ARE paying living wages and have been for years. Unions protect the poor worker from the employer nowadays and take whatever extra they can from their "members." There may be a need for unions in other vocations, but being a clerk or similar at Walmart is not a job a union needs to represent someone as its's not dangerous and the employer isn't putting them in situations that may pose risks like coal miners, steel workers, etc. In N Out pays a living wage and they aren't union. Tell me, Pilar, what's your union done for you that you couldn't have done for yourself in a private sector job without a union? Nothing! If you don't have one, get an education and make yourself marketable and employable and you'll be fine. The employer doesn't owe anyone a thing. It's up to you, not the union. All they do is get rich on union dues. If you want a job where you are working harder, and better, than your coworker and that same coworker is making more money than you simply because they've been there longer then a union is where you want to be. If you want a job where a union will fight to keep a below average worker employed but then ultimately lose the fight then join a union. No, unions are for fools. They are the only ones that win. Yes, I've been in two different unions so I speak from experience. They protect the poor worker and reward time served, not ability OR performance.
Dave Enright March 27, 2012 at 03:32 PM
San Ramon DOES want them here. You are in the minoity. San Ramon needs the employment and tax revenue.
Dave Enright March 27, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Thank God! I see a construction fence and trailer have gone up and hopefully they will commence on getting Walmart Grocery up and running soon. I'm glad it will be a non-union shop as unions are for poor performers and people that don't see the benefit of being paid for performance. As it should be in every job. Bravo San Ramon for not cowering to the idiots that can't see the forest for the trees!
sr_resident May 18, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Having been a former UFCW member (not by choice) in HS and college, I must agree with Dave, unions protect the slackers, fosters the "not my job" lazy attitudes, and rewards through arbitration, promotions based on tenure rather than ability and work ethics. I had no choice but to leave the union and seek management opportunities to advance, rather than "wait my turn" for the "lazy lifers" that spent more time "whining about the system", and hiding behind the union that backed them over me just because they had more "time". The life lesson learned.. never work for job that requires a union!
db August 15, 2012 at 09:25 PM
you are a typical union slave. you probably could not survive if not for a union. people like you are suffocating this great country.

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