From today’s Los Angeles Times:
Grocery workers across Southern California began voting Monday on whether to authorize a strike against Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions in an effort to pressure the companies to raise wages.
More than 47,000 workers at 500 stores are eligible to vote over five days, with the result expected to be announced Sunday.
A three-year contract between the United Food and Commercial Workers and Kroger, the parent company of Ralphs, and Albertsons, which owns Vons and Pavilions, expired March 6.
Talks between the union’s seven locals and the companies stalled two weeks ago. A strike authorization vote does not necessarily result in a strike. It gives union leaders the right to call a strike if an agreement cannot be reached.
Intense negotiations had taken place since January, “proceeding at a regular rhythm,” said John Grant, president of UFCW Local 770. “Then two weeks ago it came to a screeching halt. I believe the companies wanted to see if workers are going to stand up and ask for the contract they deserve.”
Grocery workers have suffered during the pandemic, he said. “I have never seen such militancy. It’s like we’ve walked through hell and can’t stop now.”
This month, the union filed complaints of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the companies of illegal intimidation, including videotaping of workers at rallies and when they presented petitions to managers. The companies gave employees a one-time $100 bonus, which the union called a “bribe” to influence the negotiations, and they failed to provide necessary information for negotiations, according to the filings with the NLRB.
Read the complete story here.