Workers for Banners Under Albertsons and Kroger Vote on Potential Strike
- by Maggie Mead
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA - Albertsons, its banner Vons, and Kroger-owned Ralphs—may soon have picketers out front, as union leaders of seven Southern California food workers locals are in negotiation ahead of a June 24th vote to determine whether they will authorize a strike against the grocery chains.
A Kroger spokesperson, John Votava, claimed the company is negotiating in good faith, commenting, “as you know, negotiations are about finding compromise and this can take time. Throughout the negotiations, it’s business as usual in our stores and Ralphs is extremely proud of our associates who remain focused on serving our customers, communities, and each other.”
A three-year union contract expired on March 3, though provisions are still in force, according to Times of San Diego. The Mission Valley-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135 said on Facebook that the retailers were delaying in the negotiations, demanding takeaways that would “slash wages for cashiers,” offer “inappropriate wage increases that do not reflect minimum wage, 20 cents for top rate clerks, less than 1% increase,” and “put healthcare plan at risk of bankruptcy,” all while “corporate executives are giving themselves 34% raises and paying out $250 million to investors,” according to the post.
“The time has come to show the corporations we won’t take this anymore and they need to get serious about a fair deal. This will show them we are united and ready to fight for what is right,” UFCW Local 135 commented in the Facebook post.
If the upcoming vote succeeds, union leaders can potentially call for a strike at any time. While there are two more days of negotiations scheduled on June 10 and 11, the UFCW Local 135 Contract Update did not seem hopeful.
“Unless there are significant changes in their offer, your employer is giving us no choice but to take action,” the update stated. “We will not stand by while profitable corporations nickel and dime the people who make their profits possible. If we don’t have serious movement by the end of our next negotiation dates, we will be forced to stand up for ourselves, our families, and our communities.”
Will negotiations fall through? And will union leaders authorize a strike? AndNowUKnow will keep you updated.