August 9, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Los Angeles, CA – Some 50,000 workers at three leading Southern California supermarket chains may go on strike Aug. 8 if they can’t get a satisfactory contract deal.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 has not reached an agreement with the Ralphs, Vons, and Albertsons chains since their last contract expired in early March.
“On Aug. 8 we’ll vote up or down on the most current offer that’s on the table,” Local 770 vice president Rigo Valdez said. “We want to try to get the best deal we can, and we don’t want to strike.” Union officials have called the companies’ previous offer an “insulting wage proposal,” with “devastating cuts” to pensions and no improvement in health benefits. Valdez said they want to raise the starting wage from $10.20 an hour and increase the number of hours guaranteed for part-time workers—60% of the stores’ employees—from 24 hours a week to 32 hours. “The hours fluctuate,” Rob O’Connell, 44, who works part-time at a Vons supermarket in Glendora, said at a demonstration in downtown Los Angeles Aug. 2. “It’s hard to plan for anything when you have to work from 3 to 9 p.m. one day, then from 4 to 8 a.m. another day.” Read more