Thursday, May 23

Other grocers reap benefits of worker walkout


As the supermarket strike continues, some UCLA students
accustomed to Ralphs are finding other locations to shop, while
others still remain unaware of the ensuing conflict.

And some surrounding grocers are reaping benefits from the
strike.

“We’re seeing an awful lot of new faces, and doing a
lot of business,” said Pat St. John, vice president of
marketing for Trader Joe’s.

Dave Gonzales, store manager for Whole Foods Market in Westwood,
said his store has also become a little busier.

Employees at Albertsons, Inc., Safeway Inc. and Kroger Co.
““ which houses Ralphs ““ are striking over contractual
disputes in wages for new hires and health care plans.

Though Food 4 Less is owned by Kroger Co., its employees are not
striking because their contract is not up for negotiation.

Claudia Guerrerl, a picket captain at Ralphs in Westwood,
recommends that consumers shop at Whole Foods and Bristol Farms
instead of Ralphs.

“We have affected business by 50 percent,” Guerrerl
said of the picketers at Ralphs.

In regards to recommending non-union stores, Guerrerl said her
main objective is to hurt profit at Ralphs, even if it means
sending consumers to non-union locations like Whole Foods and
Trader Joe’s.

Since the strike began, business at Best Buy ““ which is
adjacent to the Westwood Ralphs ““ has decreased as well.

However, a Best Buy store official said he didn’t know if
consumers are avoiding the store because of the strike, or because
there is no parking for customers. The store official also said he
observed many people telling picketers that they will be shopping
at Best Buy, but then sneak into Ralphs when no one is looking.

Rick Carlson, a UCLA graduate student, decided to shop at Ralphs
despite picketers.

“I don’t know why they’re picketing,” he
said, adding that he does not own a car and that it would be
inconvenient to shop elsewhere.

Christine Khayoyan, a fourth-year economics student, also
shopped at Ralphs.

“I’m against (the strike),” she said.

However, Danh Hoang, a fifth-year business economics student
shopped at Whole Foods instead of his usual store, Ralphs.

“By my actions, I’m for the strikers,” he
said.

Hoang added that the picketing is intimidating, and he would not
want to cross the picket line.

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