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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.

Donaldm Sutter February 10, 2012 at 09:38 AM
retailme not and Printapons saves me lots of time and money and more than that it make the online shopping lot more fun when you get discount!!
JOSELYN YOUNG February 10, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I would LOVE to see a Trader Joe's in that empty space . I know many San Ramon residents like myself would gladly WELCOME it . Let's BRING TRADER JOE'S to San Ramon !!!!!
Mike February 10, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Target sells groceries which are a lot cheaper than Safeway and they are non-union. Does the food workers union want to shut down Target also?
sue February 10, 2012 at 06:24 PM
The small amount of groceries that Target sells is not an issue. Most Target shoppers do not go there specifically to shop for grocery items. Walmart is a low-life retailer. They are no comparison to Safeway, Trader Joe's or Lucky's. They are the bottom of the ocean scum feeding retailer and they get the same type of shopper. Stay where you are, Pleasanton and San Ramon do not want you here!
Janice P Ellis February 10, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I agree, Joselyn! My family LOVES Trader Joe's! As it is, we have to go to either the Danville TJ's location (which can be a nightmare if you get caught up in the after school San Ramon High traffic), or we have to go to the Pleasanton Trader Joe's. From what I've heard though, Trader Joe's doesn't believe San Ramon has a suitable location for them. I find that difficult to believe, but, I'd still welcome a TJ's store in San Ramon over Walmart any day of the week.
jake3_14 February 10, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Is there any forum where those opposed to Walmart's expansion can make their voices heard, such as a city council meeting?
EricV February 10, 2012 at 09:14 PM
TRADER JOES PEOPLE!!! Let's not let San Ramon sink into a hole by bringing in one of the worst retailers on Earth! Add to that traffic, noise, big rigs, trash, and parking lot "campers". This community can do a whole hell of a lot better by saying "no."
sue February 10, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I TOTALLY agree! We surely do not need the "Scum of the Earth" Walmart coming anywhere near our town!
Older February 11, 2012 at 12:12 AM
I do hope Walmart comes to our area. Many of us on limited incomes can't afford the larger stores. Those people who prefer the big stores will continue to shop there, but those of us who are living on a can of tuna or Top Ramon will be able to have something else. Remember, maybe everyone is not as lucky as you are.
Janice P Ellis February 11, 2012 at 04:00 PM
After going through two devastating downsizings during the last 20 years, and now working only part-time when I REALLY need a full-time job, my family isn't exactly living on easy street, Older. Wal-Mart paints this misconception that no one can touch their prices; but, I think just a little homework and research on your part would prove them wrong. Trader Joe's has lower prices than one would think. Lucky's also has great grocery deals, and even Safeway, especially when you can catch their 'buy one, get one free' deals and/or their dollar an item deals. I can totally understand having to deal with limited financial resources, but, no one should have to sell their soul to the devil just to have a decent meal; and Wal-Mart is the retail equivalent of satan himself - particularly if you're unfortunate enough to work there.
Diana A February 11, 2012 at 08:28 PM
As a retiree living on a small monthly income, I welcome Walmart to our community. When you look at the facts vs emotion, Walmart has a lot to offer: People As of October 31, 2011 (End of Q3), the total number of Walmart associates in California is 73,733. The average wage for regular, full-time hourly associates in California is $12.69 hour. Additionally, eligible associates receive an annual incentive based on the company performance. Associates that contribute to the 401(k) Plan will receive a dollar for dollar match from Walmart of up to 6 percent of pay. Suppliers In FYE 2011, Walmart spent $21,942,455,652.00 for merchandise and services with 3,581 suppliers in the state of California.  Walmart supports 215,430 supplier jobs in the state of California. Supplier figures provided by Dun & Bradstreet. Taxes and Fees Walmart collected on behalf of the state of California more than $961.6 million in sales taxes in FYE 2011. Walmart paid more than $180.3 million in state and local taxes in the state of California in FYE 2011. Community Involvement In 2010, Walmart stores, Sam's Club locations and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $29.1 million in cash and in-kind donations to local organizations in the communities they serve in the state of California.  Through additional funds donated by customers, and Walmart and Sam’s Club associates throughout the state, the retailer’s contributions in California totaled more than $32.5 million.
Diana A February 11, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Mike, I agree with you. This is a union issue and has nothing to do with the best interests of our community. Walmart is happily accepted in communities concerned about jobs and local sales revenue.
Diana A February 11, 2012 at 08:38 PM
That is your opinion, Sue. Please do not speak for the community of San Ramon. My guess is there are more residents who would like to see price competition within the retail grocery arena. Sprouts in Dublin has already made an impact on lowering some of the prices at Lucky's and Safeway. Competition is a good thing for the consumer.
Diana A February 11, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Trader Joe's has had ample time to look at this site. The simple fact is they are not interested in this location. And the rest of your comments regarding "worst retailers, traffic, noise, big rigs, trash, and parking lot campers" is nonsense. Every retailer has delivery trucks, including Trader Joe's. There would be no added traffic or noise with either. The city of San Ramon has laws regarding no overnight camping and those would be enforced, as the are now. Stick to the facts, not your emotions.
Diana A February 11, 2012 at 08:56 PM
"Me"? Are you one of those ten people who strongly oppose Walmart but refuse to identify who you are or who you represent? Sorry, but we can't take your opinion seriously.
Diana A February 11, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I'll apply for an entry level job making $12.69 per hour with benefits and matching 401k. And the best part... I won't have union dues automatically deducted from my paycheck like you do.
George February 12, 2012 at 12:14 AM
FYI, that's not a full blown walmart, but would be a walmart grocery store. $12.69 an hour with benefits and a 401K is better than a fast food job, and no deduction for union dues. That's a few hundred jobs for our community. Ask yourself why the union is opposed to a non union store. Why didn't they fight Target when they put in groceries?
CMNSENSENSE February 13, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Welcome Walmart! Their food is half the cost of safeway. I'm sick of paying high prices at Safeway and listening to the union checkers fumble with my name EVERY time I shop there. For Trader Joe's fans, yes they are fantastic, they were not interested in that site, end of story.
CMNSENSENSE February 13, 2012 at 02:17 AM
To older-glad to hear Walmart will lower your food bill- staples ie peanut butter, rice, cereal are even cheaper than traders (favorite grocery)...they like high foot traffic areas.. would never happen in that center, look at the walnut creek and Danville location.
Chuck February 23, 2012 at 05:35 PM
I'm with you Kelly. Being retired on a fixed income, I pay close attention to prices. While we have a glut of high cost grocery stores in Pleasanton, there is only Smart and Final offering lower prices in Pleasanton. My grocery bill on average is 60% lower by shopping stores in Dublin, Livermore and Smart & Final. All the stores suggested for the Nob Hill site have had the opportunity to reopen a market there and declined. We desperatetly need another alternative to the high priced stores in Pleasanton.
Brian February 25, 2012 at 01:14 AM
I don't get it, if you don't want to shop at Walmart neighborhood market, then don't. Most comments are from union backers who hate Walmart because they are non union. I want a choice where I shop and my neighbor can have a choice not to shop at the same store if they desire not to. Walmart, you are welcome here.
eric March 05, 2012 at 11:15 AM
wal-mart is good for the community but the people that represent them are shady. the store manager that spoke at the last hearing from the pleasanton wal-mart has a restraining order againts her for some shady actions
Brandon March 06, 2012 at 07:04 AM
Whether you are for or against Walmart opening a Neighborhood Market many of you are missing the point. Its not your choice! The property is zoned for use as a grocery store and the property owner has the right to sign a lease with Walmart to operate a grocery store within the building so long as they are not violating the terms of the original approvals. This is not something that needs public approval, its entirely within the property owners rights and no public hearings or City approvals are needed, other than a building permit for their tenant improvements. The property was originally approved for Albertsons, then when it changed to the Ralphs then the pathetic Le Asia no one seemed to care. Now that its Walmart Neighborhood Market people somehow think that they have the right to be involved in the decision. Sorry folks, that ship sailed long ago when it was approved as a grocery store.
Brandon March 06, 2012 at 07:30 AM
In addition to Target, CVS sells a lot of groceries and is non-union. Trader Joe's is non-union. Whole Foods is non-union. Fresh & Easy is non-union. Sprouts is non-union. Grocery Outlet is non-union. Even little 7-Eleven is non-union. All of the above sell groceries and operate at least one or more locations within a 10 mile radius of the proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market. Boy, if the unions had their way we wouldn't have many places to shop for food and we would be paying really high prices!!
Brandon March 06, 2012 at 07:40 AM
Targets interior grocery sections are now full size stores within a store. Both Dublin and San Ramon have been remodeled to include the new design, its chock full of groceries now. Ask Safeway if the small amount of groceries that Target sells is not an issue. Its now one of their biggest competitive issues. As far as Safeway and Lucky's, I take it you don't follow their treatment of union employees over the years and their known behind the scenes manipulation and abuse of CEQA laws to try and limit competition from developing new sites so they can continue to keep a tight grip on pricing. Oh yeah, those guys are just a bunch of big teddy bears...
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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