Grocery strike averted with Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons
Grocery union officials and negotiators for Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons have reached a tentative deal on a labor contract, a move that averts a strike that would have had more than 54,000 workers across Southern California walking off the job.
The negotiations between United Food and Commercial Workers officials and the three grocery chains, which stretched throughout the night and well into the morning, had grown urgent after a deadline for a possible grocery strike passed Sunday evening.
The contract covers an estimated 62,000 checkers, baggers, meat cutters and other grocery workers across the region, including those employed by Ralphs, which is owned by Kroger Co. of Cincinnati; Vons and Pavilions, owned by Safeway Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif.; and Albertsons, which is owned by SuperValu Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minn.
The contract also covers employees at other retailers, including Stater Bros. Markets, which are negotiating separate deals with UFCW’s seven area locals.
Details of the deal were not available as of 11:48 a.m. Monday.
The current negotiations hark back to 2003, the last time Southern California grocery workers and their employers faced a similar standoff over labor issues. The subsequent 141-day strike and lockout that began that fall left many union members with staggering debts. It reportedly cost the employers an estimated $2 billion and gave competitors an opportunity to step into the gap.
-- P.J. Huffstutter
Photo: A man stacks placards as grocery workers assemble picket signs in Los Angeles in September. The placards will no longer be needed. Credit: David McNew / Reuters