Top

blog

Stories

 

[UPDATED: Tentative Agreement Reached] UFCW Cancels Grocery Contract, Removes Final Barrier to Strike

Categories: News
UPDATE, SEPT. 19, 11:50 A.M.: After a lengthy session that extended well past the end of the union's declared cutoff time, negotiators have announced they have reached a preliminary agreement with the grocery stores; it looks like the strike is off for now, pending a vote by the union members. Details to come as they're released.
ufcwstrike.jpg
Flickr user 47483261@N05

UPDATE, SEPT. 18, 8 P.M.: While the Southern California locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers had originally set a deadline of 7:10 p.m. for negotiations to be completed to avert a strike against local Vons, Pavilions, Ralphs and Albertsons stores, local union representatives have said both sides are still at the bargaining table. There was no indication of whether a deal was in sight, but the fact that the deadline has been extended is promising.

The mood of workers at the downtown Anaheim Vons was morose; most employees were talking about looking for work at Knott's Berry Farm or Disneyland to stretch their union-funded strike pay. The workers have been instructed to remain on the job until told by their shop stewards to walk out, which could happen as early as midnight if no progress is made at the bargaining table.

Also, while all Ralphs and most Albertsons will be shuttered to avoid the expense of extra security for scab labor and customers, Vons and Pavilions stores will remain open if workers picket.

ORIGINAL POST, SAT., SEPT. 17, 6:45 A.M.: The Southern California locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers have canceled the contract between their members and Kroger Co. (Ralphs), SuperValu Inc. (Albertsons) and Safeway Inc. (Vons and Pavilions). The cancellation takes effect on Monday, Sept. 18, after the 72-hour notice period required.

While this does not mean grocery workers will be off the job on Monday, it removes the final barrier to a strike.

A strike authorization vote was held and passed on Aug. 21 by UFCW locals 8, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442, which cover Southern California as far north as San Luis Obispo and Mono counties. With the cancellation of the contract, which expired March 6, negotiatiors may call a strike at any time.

During the 141-day 2003-2004 strike, all four brands remained open; after some time, and presumably because the strike occurred over the holiday season, the union and the stores reached an agreement to stop the picketing of Ralphs, thus allowing shoppers who refused to cross the union's picket lines access to one of the chains.

That's not likely to happen this time; while Vons and Albertsons were advertising for scab labor, Ralphs management announced the stores will simply close if a strike is called, and Albertsons management have not ruled out a full or partial closure of its stores. Vons and Pavilions management have not said publicly what they will do. If the strike is called, expect long lines at Stater Bros. markets, which have reached their own agreement with the UFCW.

For our suggestions on where to shop if the strike is called, click here.

Follow Stick a Fork In It on Twitter @ocweeklyfood or on Facebook!

My Voice Nation Help
26 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
909Jeff
909Jeff

Bristol Farms here I come!

JB
JB

Trying to pick a side in this reminds me of when I sat behind the dugout at the Yankees-Dodgers game last year...as a Met fan, I couldn't root for either of them.  So, dear OC Weekly readers, let's say we opt for the lesser of all the evils and take our shopping to Trader Joe's and Fresh & Easy. 

You like Quaker Instant Oatmeal?  Trader Joe's sells a comparable product, including that maple and brown sugar one you like, for $2.49 everyday, no sales or loyalty cards required.  You wondering where are you going to get your 2 liter bottles of Coke and your Clorox bleach? Fresh & Easy's got 'em, along with some extremely good boxed salads and refrigerated burritos. 

For all I care, Albertsons can shutter a few more stores...we don't have enough Forever 21s around here, anyway. 

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

As a consumer, why should I care what happens to Union employee's. What the Hell have they EVER done for me. Better service, lower prices. I think not?? .......

HatersNeverProsper
HatersNeverProsper

Yes you may have a point there, but no one owes you DAMN thing either and the employees don't control the prices, the company does! So when the companies lay me off as well as other employees because they continue to downsize, I guess your tax paying dollars will be what puts food on my table! I think so...!!

Njenson
Njenson

If the strike occurs, I wont be back to my regular Vons / Pavillions.  I'll go the extra mile to Fresh N Easy.  i definitely wont be back if the strike occurs, and I imagine that I am not alone.

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

LOL with this being the only comment made by Njenson I will suggest he is another advertising agency employee for Fresh & Easy trying to use this as an opportunity for free advertising for the FOREIGN SCAB market chain. I will continue shopping at the Union Stater Brothers markets that I found during the last strike.

Njenson
Njenson

Well, lets see, I live in South Pasadena and I shop regularly at both Vons and Pavillions that are on Fair Oaks, near Oak cross street.  I have been going there for years.  So, while I have only posted one comment, I am a real person Mr. Dweezle Di, or can I just call you Dweezle.  I have been through these strikes as a customer before and I dont like it.  Just stating my opinion and I dont really care if you differ on it.  That is your prerogative.

Riley
Riley

In the link about where to shop if a strike is called, how are those shoppers supporting those union workers on strike by shopping at places that are non-union and/or offer even less pay and benefits than the grocery chains?

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

By not crossing the picket lines. People aren't magically going to stop eating, Riley, and it's illegal for union stores to close, fire workers and reopen as non-union stores.

Mike
Mike

Unions are a joke and a notion of days past. In this economy it is every person for themselves. There are at least 200 people vying for that job you are giving up and striking is a guaranteed death sentence for your precious job.  Quit the union, pick up the hours your former union chumps left behind and put bread on the table. Which is a lot more than those striking will have...

David Price
David Price

My wife is a worker at Albertsons and she does not want to strike. She has no benefits, because the union decided she didn't qualify for the health plan because she worked one hour shy of the 64 hours a month requirement for the health plan. The union is simply taking her money and using it for their own benefit. And the UFCW is one of the most corrupt unions in the country. The UFCW Local 770 branch is horrible. Here is a breakdown of the union leaders pay:

1. Rodney Diamond, Secretary Treasurer, $545,936 per yer2. Ricardo Icaza, President, $293,564 per year3. William Rodriguez, VP/Field Director, $173,985 per year4. Jon Grant, Secretary Treasurer, $168,245 per year5. Martel Fraser, Recorder, $154,290 per year6. Kathy Finn, VP/Director of Research, $145,830 per year7. Janet Dresner, VP/Executive Assistant, $136,066 per year8. Paul Edwards, VP/Field Rep Sup, $128,376 per year9. Kimberly Mosher, Business Rep, $128,318 per year10. Diane Bertell, VP/Business Rep, $127,384 per yearDo you really think the union cares about you if they make this much per year off of your backs? Do you think its ok for them to make this much? They don't care about you. They just want more of your money so that that they can continue to make money. And in this economy, does a strike even make sense? You'll stand to lose a lot of income, and is the union going to help you out? By doing this, you are only encouraging people to shop at places like Walmart and Target, which are non-union stores. Walmarts are making a calculated move right now by hiring more people, because their sales are going to increase in the event of a strike. Your union leaders ought to think this through, because its going to be the workers that are going to be financially hurt in the end

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

Now David Price, How about posting the salary and perks for the CEO and upper administrators of Albertsons I will wager they are over $1million each. It is not the unions fault that the stores INTENTIONALLY limit her hours so she will be ineligible for benefits. The rules for eligibility were negotiated in previous contracts. I am wondering if there is a David Price employed by the Public Relations firm retained by Albertsons?

YES David Price I am suggesting that you are most likely astroturf, a phoney automated response to this forum designed to draw support to the corporate agendas.

For interesting reading on this trend read: http://www.alternet.org/media/...

909Jeff
909Jeff

Dweezle... The parent company of Albertsons is Supervalu and they rank 61st  in the fortune 500.  Safeway the parent company of Vons is 60th and Krogers which operates Ralphs and Food for Less is 25th.  If the CEO's of these respective companies only make a million they would be grossly underpaid.  The best part is that most of the people who are complaining about these "greedy" companies probably own them in their 401ks or other retirement plans and have no problem when they yield 10% returns

Tired of Crybabies
Tired of Crybabies

While the unemployment rate hovers at 13% in California, these unions are crazy to strike.The issue... heath insurance. Employers are asking employees to pay $2 - $8 per week. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! They are crying over $32/month? Strikers shouldn't expect ANY sympathy from consumers because they won't get it. There are plenty of people who will be more than happy to take those new jobs when the grocery chains shut their stores, change their names and re-open as non- union markets. 

Debbiwillcox
Debbiwillcox

just to let you all know, we are not complaining about 23 dollars a week for benefits. They also want us to have a 3000 dollar a year deductable and after that pay 20 percent! I got  a job at the union markets for their great medical benefits. If you wanted to, you could of got a job their too.I am lucky to be full time, but must are not! many of my co workers struggle on 24 hours a week. I was on the picket line in 2004 and I got a job at one of the non union stores as well to suppliment the strike pay. I hope I can do the same this time. These companies continue to make huge profits! I am doing three times as much work as 8 years ago and believe me working with rude customers makes our job real hard. Give us a break! We do not want to strike! We want to work!

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

the thing I am curious about is; if the employees are kept working less than full time to keep them from eligibility for benefits, then why complain about benefits they are not receiving?The fight should be to keep employers from using part time employees.

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

It is not smart to admit to working for a rat market when you were on strike from your union store. If I get caught working as an employee of a rat company in the building trades, I will lose my benefits pension and union card and probably have to pay a $5000 fine to re-join and start over.

Njenson
Njenson

as a point of clarification can you define what a 'rat market' is?  Is it any company that is non union?

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

You're complaining about a $3,000 deductible and 20% co-pay?  You know how many people have an infinite deductible and 100% co-pay?

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

And WALMART employees with families are eligible for Medi-cal (as well as food stamps) with no deductible at taxpayer expense... WALMART actually offers classes to new employees on how to qualify, as well as the bad bad unions...

Ironic, that the employees of WALMART suppliers in Communist China are represented by unions as well as living the worker class lifestyle Americans enjoyed during the late 1950's & 60's. 

nkdcplsocal
nkdcplsocal

I'm just hoping the clerks are not part of the group of which you speak. That's why they are uniting so their co-pays are not 100%.

Foggo
Foggo

Unfortunately it is the fact that unions are getting weaker that more and more of the middle class are facing these tremendous increases is their cost of insurance coverage. The larger the group looking for coverage the cheaper the coverage will be. For those who believe the union movement is no longer needed, how long do you think it will take for the employers to start taking back some of the benefits gained over the years by unions such as paid vacations, sick leave and breaks. Company bottom line is all they worry about (as it should be) but unions need to stick around for the check and balance for the employees.

Itsbritneybitch
Itsbritneybitch

Those of you who criticize the grocery workers are plain ignorant and have no idea what is at stake for the future of America. As a grocery worker myself, I currently am making 8.30 an hour and with barely any hours, an increase in healthcare premiums, and not to mention a cut in our pay(as if we dont make enough as it is), it would be almost impossible to afford all of my healthcare costs. That said, we are not only fighting for just healthcare but also wages, pension, etc... which is a major problem! The rich continue to get rich and the poorer continue to get poorer as these multi-million dollar corporations continue to cut and downsize their corporations, so whether you support us or not I will let my voice be heard if we happen to walk the picket line!

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

$8.30 an hour? Minimum wage in Calif is $8.00 an Hr...don't the store management keep staff to under 32 hours a week so they can keep all staff as part time and keep them from collecting benefits?

Lovelyett
Lovelyett

30 cents more... What's the difference? You might as well be getting 8 dollars and ya they do. They give us around 24 hours sometimes less. Tell me how any increase in healthcare costs is reasonable on those types of wages?

JB
JB

Just to break this down for everyone, it's a dispute between macho, bitter, ultra-sensitive union leadership, and Fortune 500 C-level execs who, while bent over in front of Wall Street investors, avidly review their pre-negotiated compensation and severance agreements on a daily basis. 

The real losers are (most of) the rank and file, independent regional suppliers like dairies, and a fair segment of customers who rely on the big markets for reasons ranging from convenience to the fact they just plain like mass-market products (in non-warehouse quantities). 

Vons has some very genuinely nice front-end people (of all ages, genders, and races) working for them, and dare I suggest that a lot were intimidated by fear when they voted to walk. 

I'm just hoping there's no strike so more people don't discover Fresh & Easy's excellent chicken tortilla soup, or Trader Joe's addictive Vanilla Almond Granola Bars. 

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...