Friday October 20th 2017

Southern California Grocery Workers approve Strike Option

ANAHEIM Calif. (FNP) – Grocery Workers at Ralphs, Vons, and Albertsons gave approval for union officials to call a strike if contract negotiations fail. The grocery store unions represent 62,000 workers in Southern California. Over 90 percent of the union workers voted NO on the recently proposed contract from the grocery store chains.

According to Mickey Kasparian, president of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135, a strike could be called within the next five or six days if the negotiations with a federal mediator fails to move forward.

Kroger Company owns Ralphs grocery store. Safeway Inc. owns Vons, and Supervalu owns Albertsons. The three companies are working together as a group to negotiate with the UFCW Local 135 union.

Southern California grocery workers have an expired contract since March 2011. Much of the disagreement involves healthcare coverage. The companies are looking for workers to pay around $36 a month for a single individual or $92 a month for family coverage. Over the next three years, the UFCW union said on their website, that the new terms for healthcare would shift $450 million of financial responsibility to the union workers.

In 2003, there was a grocery strike in Southern California. Shoppers had to cross picket lines to go shopping at these stores.

“Last time the strike happened, I went to State Brothers to do my shopping,” Sheila Long said while she shopped at Albertson’s.  “I just can’t bring myself to cross the picket lines.”

By: Jerry Miller

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