Southern California Grocery Workers Could Strike Soon

Written by Sasha Reva

Thousands of California grocery workers started voting on authorizing their union to begin a strike against supermarket chains. About 47,000 workers at Albertsons Walmart, Vons and other stores are eligible to vote this week. Results should be out on March 27. Negotiations with companies ended without agreement before the latest three-year contracts expired March 6.

The union commented that the wage proposal was about a 60 cent increase which is super low and below cost-of-living. In a statement from the United Food and Commercial Workers, “Both companies have refused to agree to expand safety committees in the stores, and have yet to negotiate meaningful health and welfare benefits.”

Ralph’s employee Erlene Molina, who is also a bargaining committee member, 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.”

Albertsons is willing to provide their employees a competitive total compensation package of wages, health, welfare and pension benefits. “We are committed to working collaboratively to ensure that we reach an agreement that is fair to our employees, good for our customers, and allows Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions to remain competitive in the Southern California market.”

Back in 2003-04 California had a strike and lockout with about 70,000 Southern California grocery workers for more than four months.

Photo Cred: Jonathan Bloom/NBC Bay Area