Los Angeles Area Union Negotiates to Avoid Strike
Today, August 8th, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union reached a tentative agreement in contract negotiations with Ralphs, Albertsons, and Vons grocery stores. This agreement comes in the wake of a demonstration on Tuesday, and the threat of a strike.
On their website, UFCW local 770 posted a statement saying:
"We have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with Albertsons, Ralph's, and Vons, pending our members ratification vote on Monday on August 8. We want to thank all of our community partners who came forward day in and day out to support the workers. This deal could not have happened without the strength and solidarity of our dedicated members."
Last month, 50,000 union members voted to approve a strike in the event an agreement couldn't be made by August 8th.
On Tuesday, some 400 grocery workers and their supporters marched on downtown Los Angeles in a show of solidarity. The demonstration was organized just as contract negotiations, going on since the March, came to a head.
It appears that, today August 4th, just in the nick of time, such an agreement has been reached. The new contract, however, awaits ratification by UFCW Southern California members.
Both sides have been anxious to avoid a strike, but union members are furious at what officials call "insulting wage proposal[s]," and "devastating cuts" to pension plans.
According to the Press Telegram, a spokesperson for Ralphs says “No one wins if a strike happens. We want to do everything we can to get a contract in place.”
The entry level wage for union members is $10.25/hr., hovering just above minimum wage. Retail and grocery workers are nervous of seeing their wages dry up as cost-of-living in California skyrockets. And the stores are seeing pressure from unorganized competitors like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.
This gives both the union and the bosses good reason to cooperate and avoid a strike. Particularly when you take into account the last strike. Occuring in 2004, it was a 141 day walkout that cost Ralphs and Albertsons $1.5 billion— according to the LA Times.
As always thank you for reading, if you have a wage dispute, or are renegotiating a contract, don't let your employer get the better of you, talk to one of our Los Angeles employment lawyers today.