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Supermarket Strike?

By Stett Holbrook

NORTHERN California was spared the strike and lockout that crippled Southern California's supermarkets for 139 days earlier this year. But union workers at Northern California Albertson's, Ralphs and Safeway were threatening to go on strike this week if their conditions weren't met. The union claimed victory after it reached an agreement with management on Monday. The union, UFCW Local 588, represents 19,000 workers from the California-Oregon border to Modesto, not including the Bay Area. The agreement may set standards for future negotiations in other California supermarkets as contracts come up for renegotiation.

The pact maintains a contract without employee-paid health-care premiums and two-tier wages or benefits. The primary issues dealt with company proposals to shift the cost of health care and pension benefits to employees, two-tier wages, health care and pension programs, and job protection. For their part, store owners said they needed concessions to keep up with low-priced and nonunion stores like Wal-Mart.

Previously, workers at Raley's, Bel Air and Nob Hill markets reached a tentative pact with store owners over the same issues.

San Jose Goes Deep

Downtown San Jose gets a new night spot with the opening of Deep Restaurant and Lounge at the corner of North San Pedro and St. John. The restaurant will serve an Asian-accented European menu that's long on seafood dishes. Deep also features a sprawling, 10,000-square-foot patio.

East Meets Beef

After the opening of Park Place earlier this year, Cupertino will get another notable restaurant with the debut of Alexander's Steakhouse early next year. The restaurant will fuse standards of the American steakhouse with an Asian sensibility by offering Kobe beef and flights of sake. The restaurant will also sell cuts of meat at its retail counter and feature a dry-aged display room.

Alexander's is the partnership of executive chef Jeffrey Stout and general manager James "JC" Chen. Stout cooked at California Cafe, Blackhawk Grille, Domaine Chandon and Wente Brothers winery. Chen, a second-generation restaurateur, also worked at the California Cafe in Palo Alto, where he met Stout. The Wolfe Road restaurant takes the place of the 10,000-square-foot El Torito and will feature a 2,500-bottle wine cellar and a fireplace-warmed lounge. The restaurant is projected to open in March.

A.P. Stumps Is Back For Lunch

A slow economy forced San Jose's A.P. Stump's to close for lunch—now the restaurant has relaunched lunch and debuts a new, lower-priced dinner menu. The revised menu features corn-fed American beef, chops and fresh seafood. Along with the new lunch hours comes a more casual menu and atmosphere, with entrees coming under the $25 mark.

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From the December 22-28, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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