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San Jose Grocery Shoppers Asked To Pledge Union Support

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A woman stands in a supermarket aisle. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

MikeColgan20100909_KCBS_0410r Mike Colgan
Mike Colgan, who has worked in Bay Area radio for more than 40 year...
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SAN JOSE (KCBS) – As Northern California supermarket workers step up pressure for a new contract, some local shoppers are being asked to sign pledge cards showing their support for unions.

CPA Bobby Benjavino, who was shopping at a Safeway store in San Jose Thursday, said that he was more than happy to sign the pledge card.

“I remember as a kid I worked at the grocery store to go through college, and in those days grocers could actually make a living, support a family, own a home and do all of those other things,” said Benjavino.

Retired SaveMart butcher Frank Delerico outlined one of the union’s key concerns.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

“They’re trying to take away medical benefits,” said Delerico. “Actually they made a proposal to take the retiree medical benefits away from the retirees, which they earned with their hard work. So we really want to support that.”

While not commenting on the negotiations, Safeway spokeswoman Susan Houghton said that it’s all about trying to stay competitive with their non-union rivals.

”The grocery industry really has changed dramatically, especially in Northern California,” said Houghton. “There are a number of new retail players, many of whom are non-union operators, and that really changes the perspective for those who are union.”

The contract, involving Safeway, SaveMart and Raley’s expired last October.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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