Union Grocery Workers Overwhelmingly Vote to Authorize Strikes at Ralphs, Albertsons, Pavilions and Vons

by on March 28, 2022 · 0 comments

in Labor, San Diego

Over the weekend, unions representing grocery workers announced that their memberships had voted to authorize their Locals to strike against major grocery employers.

Members and their leadership of United Food and Commercial Workers are fed up with the tactics employed by Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions during the current contract bargaining process and are ready to strike against them if agreements are not made.

The major employers’ tactics became so onerous that the seven union locals filed unfair labor practice complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), charging that the employers were “undermining contract negotiations and workers’ rights to representation by committing unlawful conduct that jeopardizes the bargaining process, violates federal labor law, and intimidates workers.”

Specifically, the charges against Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions include:

  • Both employers refusing to implement wage increases as required by their contract and giving workers small, token bonuses, instead of bargaining for wage increases per the negotiations process. This has led to many workers feeling intimidated and bribed into accepting a bonus rather than a permanent wage increase.
  • Ralphs has also been outsourcing food preparation work to ‘ghost kitchens’ run by non-union outside companies.
  • Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions has also been conducting unlawful surveillance of workers protesting low wages and short hours in an attempt to prevent those employees from getting their message out to the public.

Clearly, these types of unlawful practices undermine workers’ rights and their ability to negotiate a fair contract. They also further intimidate and attempt to weaken the collective power of those essential grocery workers not only in San Diego but throughout California.

Negotiations resume March 30th with UFCW and Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions. No dates have been set yet for a strike.

More from the press statement by UFCW:

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428, and 1442, together representing over 47,000 frontline food workers at Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions, announced an overwhelming membership vote to authorize union leadership to call for Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strikes should that become necessary.

UFCW Local 135 member Patty Figueroa, a Bakery Clerk at Albertsons in Lemon Grove said the following:

“I voted yes because I feel like I’m struggling. Every day is a lot of hard work and its barely enough money to pay bills. I don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck. These companies are making a lot of profits off our hard work and they violate our rights. They need to do better for us. ”

The seven UFCW Locals released the following statement on the strike authorization vote passage:

“California’s essential grocery workers made their voices heard with an overwhelming vote to stand together against the repeated and egregious unfair labor practices that Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions have engaged in.

“Through the past two years of the pandemic, it was the hard work and sacrifice of our members that helped these same companies earn billions in profits. As we continue at the bargaining table, all of our Local Unions are committed to getting a contract that reflects everything these essential grocery workers have contributed to their employers, their customers, and their communities.”

On March 30 from 1pm until 5pm, UFCW Local 135 will host a PICKET SIGN MAKING EVENT with members at our Mission Valley Union Hall located at 2001 Camino Del Rio South. This event will be open to the media to shoot video of picket signs being made and to talk with union members.

UFCW Local 135 is one of seven UFCW Locals that make up the largest union grocery contract in the nation, representing over 60,000 hard-working UFCW members who work wall-to-wall at Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, Stater Bros., and Gelson’s. The members represented belong to UFCW Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428, and 1442, spanning from central California to the Mexican border.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 135, has a membership of approximately 13,000 workers and nearly 7000 retirees throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. Members consist of workers in various fields including grocery & retail; health, pharmacy & dental; meat & sugar processing; gaming; and cannabis. UFCW Local 135 is part of the 1.3 million-member strong UFCW International.

 

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