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Haggen CEO addresses backlash, following recent layoffs

Jordan Bell, KCBX News

The head of Haggen grocery stores on the Central Coast is responding to backlash following the chain's recent round of layoffs. He's trying to clarify the reasons for the cut-backs and what's next for those workers. 

Haggen stores have had a rough go of it since taking over a number of Vons and Albertsons on the Central Coast this past spring. Bill Shaner is the chain's CEO and said  it was necessary to lay off full-time food and general merchandise clerks recently. That move included several developmentally disabled employees. 

" It is disheartening to us and frankly, it's gut wrenching to have to make some of the decisions that we've made. So we certainly want to be very true to our values to help those folks that may have been impacted," said Shaner.

Shaner said those laid off will be first in line when Haggen begins rehiring, after what he calls "temporary" layoffs.

Meanwhile they can look for work at any of Haggen's competitors. Shaner recently reached out to Pathpoint, an organization that helps disabled people find work,to learn more about the group.

Pathpoint Vice President Stephanie Boumediene said the silver lining of this situation is an elevated discussion about employment of people with disabilities.