SoCal grocery workers begin voting to authorize union strike –

Albertsons at 7090 Broadway in Lemon Grove. Photo courtesy of Albertsons.

SAN DIEGO (COUSSI) – Thousands of grocery store workers across Southern California will go to the polls Monday to authorize their union to go on strike amid ongoing negotiations over contracts with retailers and V / Albertsons.

Officials at the United Food and Commercial Workers union said the vote would take several days, with the results expected to be announced on Sunday. A “yes” would not automatically lead to a strike. It will authorize the union to call only one if no progress is made in the labor negotiations.

About 47,000 workers represented by seven locals in the UFCW union between Central California and the Mexican border will vote. Membership covers employees in more than 500 stores.

Union officials announced earlier this month that talks on the deal had stalled. A three-year employment contract between grocery union workers and Southern California supermarkets expired on March 7, raising fears of a possible strike.

“Trading committees made up of front-line grocery workers and union leaders came up with proposals that would raise wages fairly and improve store conditions to reflect the needs of workers in a pandemic and post-pandemic world.” union in a statement earlier. month announced the cessation of working talks. “The companies that represented the stores offered pennies, a proposal that would ultimately be a pay cut due to inflation.”

Ralphs responded by saying in a statement: “A vote to authorize a strike does not mean that there will be a strike, but it creates unnecessary concern for our partners and communities, at a time when we need to gather good faith by negotiating solutions and compromise. . At Ralphs we remain focused on settling an agreement with the UFCW. “

“We have three very clear goals. “Put more money into our partners’ salaries, keep groceries affordable for our customers, and maintain a sustainable future for our business,” Ralphs said. “By working together, we win together.”

The employees of the grocery store continue to work under the terms of the previous contract.

Ralphs issued a statement on Sunday stating that additional talks were scheduled to resume on March 30. The company’s latest proposal includes investments in affiliate salaries of more than $ 141 million over the next three years. The proposal does not require increases in the cost of healthcare for partners.

“We will continue to do what we can to balance investment in wages and the overall well-being of our partners, while keeping food accessible to our customers,” said Robert Branton, Vice President of Operations at Ralphs. “Our current offer adds to our partners’ salaries, while providing them with high-quality healthcare coverage and company-funded pensions – something many of our competitors do not offer.”

Ralphs says it pays an average hourly wage of $ 19 an hour, with more than half of its partners being in the company for more than 10 years and more than a third being with Ralphs for more than 20 years. Ralphs also provides health care and retirement benefits to retired partners.

“Ralphs has always been and continues to be a workplace where our partners come to work and stay for careers,” Branton said.

In 2003-04, Southland grocery workers quit their jobs due to a dispute over contracts, and the strike lasted 141 days. This layoff was estimated by some analysts to have cost supermarket chains up to $ 2 billion, with workers losing $ 300 million in wages.

During the last round of negotiations in 2019, grocery workers voted in favor of the strike, but negotiations continued for two months and a labor agreement was finally reached, preventing the strike.

SoCal grocery workers begin voting to authorize union strike – Source link SoCal grocery workers begin voting to authorize union strike –

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