Shoppers Return To Raley’s In Natomas

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz
A week after United Food and Commercial Workers union members started picketing, there’s been a noticeable increase in shoppers at the Raley’s store in Natomas.

“Business is coming back and it is coming back strong,” said Mike Bodwell, store director of the location on Natomas Boulevard.

Bodwell gave only partial credit to a series of three-day specials – where shoppers earned free food with a purchase of $20 or more – for an uptick in customers heading into the weekend. He said it’s the familiar faces shoppers see inside the store that have customers coming back.

“Over 90 percent of our own employees are working in the store,” said Bodwell. “Less than 10 percent have walked out. There are very few of our own people out there (on the picket line).”

Businesses also located in the Park Place Shopping Center with Raley’s said impact of the strike has been mixed.

Postnet store manager Richard Danganan reported an increase in customers choosing not to use mail services located inside Raley’s.

“Some customers are wondering what’s going on,” said one store operator, who wished to remain anonymous.

Bodwell said protestors had been fairly peaceful this first week of the strike. The store’s response to a handful of complaints about aggressive picketers is to have employees – referred to as “personal ambassadors” – help escort customers crossing the picket line and into the store.

United Food and Commercial Workers union members went on strike Nov. 4 after labor talks failed to result in an agreement between the Raley’s grocery chain and employees.

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