Red all over

The owner of Firestorm Pizza has unveiled his plans for the space alongside the West Second Street business. Dan Nyhof expected the Red Room to open as early as this weekend, as soon as the city permits and final Alcoholic Beverage Control approvals go through.

He’s mainly going for the after-work crowd—which has been tried before, but Nyhof said he’s going to do it better. The mirrored, red-black-and-silver bar will include televisions playing the business report and Direct TV football feeds. Wine, blended drinks and coffee drinks will be offered. The balcony area could be cleared for dancing and live music like light jazz and ‘70s and ‘80s pop. In the late nights, he expects the over-25 clientele would make way for the college set.

Firestorm Pizza is located in what used to be Pizza Face until its owner, Peter Scalise, moved on to other things and filed bankruptcy. “I want the city to know—everybody in this town to know—that Pizza Face is dead. It doesn’t exist anymore,” said Nyhof, who has his own pizza and dough recipes and plans to add salads and other menu items.

Union dues

Our high school intern, Misty Roze Harrold, has been following the averted grocery workers’ union strike of Safeway and Albertson’s. Harrold’s report shows that the deal didn’t necessary buy happy employees. Her story:

Union employees of Safeway and Albertson’s in the Bay Area found themselves between a rock and a hard place. They had no contract, and they couldn’t strike. Meanwhile, it looked like business as usual in the Chico area.

The old contract expired Sept. 22, but negotiations that had been going on since mid-July failed to result in a new contract by the expiration date, as the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and the corporate grocers couldn’t agree on pay and benefits. The Bay Area Coalition, which had broken ranks in hopes of a raise of between 75 cents and $1.50 an hour and more money toward benefits, ended up agreeing Oct. 12 to a contract virtually identical to the one Local 588—which includes Butte County stores—accepted in late July.

The grocery chains had made a final offer that included three years of pay raises, benefits with no premium or deductible and a guaranteed 15 percent increase in pension benefits.

Bay Area union leaders had voted against this offer and called a strike vote by their members last month. The union’s solidarity was broken when it couldn’t muster the two-thirds vote needed for a strike.

The battle reached beyond typically contentious contract negotiations Oct. 3 as Safeway filed a lawsuit against UFCW, charging irregularities in the strike vote. According to Safeway, some employees were denied the right to vote, identification was not requested, ineligible people voted and some people were even allowed to vote twice.

In Chico, some Safeway employees are tired of the contract disputes, which seem to be replayed every few years.

One local man, who asked that his name not be used, said, "We are the ones that do all the work. We deal with customers that aren’t always pleasant, while they [corporation executives] sit behind desks and discourage us. We don’t have enough breaks for what we do; they simply don’t give us compensation for what we have to deal with. It is time they address our needs."