California Grocery Workers Vote On Strike Authorization

Thousands of southern and central California grocery workers started voting Monday on whether to authorize their union to call a strike against several major supermarket chains.

About 47,000 workers at hundreds of Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores are eligible to vote this week. Results are expected to be released on March 27.

The possible strike would involve grocery clerks, meat cutters, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians represented by seven locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Negotiations with Ralphs, owned by Kroger, and Albertsons, owner of Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores, ended without agreement before the latest three-year contracts expired March 6.

The union said the next day that the companies’ wage proposal amounted to a 60-cent increase that was “shockingly low” and well below workers’ cost-of-living needs. Employees were asking for a $5-an-hour raise, among other proposals.

“Both companies have refused to agree to expand safety committees in the stores, and have yet to negotiate meaningful health and welfare benefits,” a United Food and Commercial Workers statement said.

The union said that during the final day of negotiations it emphasized the essential role grocery workers played during the coronavirus pandemic.

The union said bargaining committee member Erlene Molina, a Ralphs employee, told company negotiators: “We saw how people were acting like the world was ending, but we could not stay home. We knew that we had an obligation to our community, so we showed up every day.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that a Ralphs statement said the vote creates “unnecessary concern for our associates and communities, at a time when we should be coming together in good faith bargaining to find solutions and compromise. At Ralphs, we remain focused on settling a deal with the UFCW.”

Albertsons Companies said in a statement that the goal of the negotiation is “to provide our employees with a competitive total compensation package of wages, health, welfare and pension benefits.”

Click here to read the full article at AP News

Comments

  1. If the food shortages and economic collapse go off as planned then this strike authorization will mean nothing. Should know which way this goes within a year. IMO.

  2. Really??? says

    The good workers are paid some of the best salaries in the State.

    The unions are taking a huge cut from their workers for political slush funds.

    Of course the unions can count on the Socialist’s in Sac. to push massive government programs at the expense of the middle class. Then again they the Dem’s are refusing to maintain and increase water storage, that will expand crops and lower prices….

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