Grocery Workers Voting This Week on Whether to Strike

by on March 21, 2022 · 0 comments

in Labor, San Diego

Thousands of union grocery workers at Ralphs, Albertsons, and Vons, from Central California to San Diego, will be voting the week of March 21 on whether to authorize an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike against their employers.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135, along with sibling UFCW Locals in the bargaining unit, have filed multiple ULP charges with the National Labor Relations Board against these companies for violating the rights of members. These unfair labor practice charges range from trying to influence members by providing gifts and bonuses while negotiations are ongoing to interfering with legally recognized union activities to outsourcing union jobs.

UFCW Local 135 President Todd Walters states:

“It is shameful that the companies would resort to these types of tactics after what essential workers have gone through for our communities and country during the pandemic. Instead of interfering with the rights of their employees, these companies should be negotiating livable wages for their essential workforce.”

This vote is an aggregate pooled vote with members from UFCW Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428, and 1442 at Ralphs (parent company Kroger) and Albertsons/Pavilions/Vons (parent company Cerberus Capital Management). Voting in San Diego takes place March 21-23. Voting times are from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM on all three days.

Voting in other UFCW jurisdictions runs from March 21 through March 26, results to be announced afterwards.

On location media will have access to members walking into and out of venues on all days. There will be no media access inside polling locations.

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

Roughly 47,000 workers represented by seven UFCW union locals between Central California and the Mexico border will be casting ballots. The membership covers workers at more than 500 stores.

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

“Bargaining committees composed of front-line grocery workers and union leaders came prepared with proposals that would fairly increase wages and improve store conditions to reflect the needs of workers in a pandemic and post- pandemic world,” the union said in a statement earlier this month announced a stall in labor talks. “The corporations representing the stores offered pennies, a proposal that would ultimately be a pay cut due to inflation.

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