The strike at Raley's entered its third day Tuesday with neither side appearing ready to budge.
Raley's spokesman John Segale said operations were improving and sales are "coming back to normal levels." He added, "We're continuing to find more people crossing the picket line."
The United Food and Commercial Workers, however, said workers and customers alike are staying loyal to the union, with most shoppers continuing to do business at other stores to the exclusion of Raley's.
"Our picket captains are reporting that the lines are getting stronger throughout the area," said Jacques Loveall, president of UFCW Local 8 in Roseville, in a message emailed to The Bee. "Volunteers from other unions are supporting the picket lines."
Raley's wouldn't provide details on sales or customer volumes. But Burt Flickinger III, a retail industry consultant from New York, said the West Sacramento grocery chain is likely losing a good deal of business.
Flickinger, head of Strategic Resource Group, said other grocers are sure to reap the benefit of the Raley's strike.
"Raley's can lose millions," he said.
Competing stores clearly saw extra shoppers on Sunday, the first day of the strike and one of the busiest shopping days of the week.
Safeway Inc. and Save Mart Supermarkets, the other two unionized grocers in Northern California, declined to say whether their sales have improved since the strike began. Officials from other competitors couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.
Segale said Raley's has been taking applications from potential replacement workers "but no replacements have been hired."
Workers walked off the job at Raley's and Nob Hill Foods early Sunday. Despite the picket lines, the company says every one of its stores has stayed open.
Raley's has been pressing for wage and benefit concessions for more than a year; the biggest sticking point between the two sides is Raley's proposed changes to the workers' health insurance.
No new negotiations are scheduled.
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