Grocery Store Workers To Vote On Strike Authorization

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Grocery store workers at Southland area markets are voting Wednesday whether or not to authorize a strike.

Approximately 62,000 union members employed at Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons are scheduled to vote at 8 a.m. A two-thirds vote is needed to authorize a strike. A four-year labor contract between employees and the chains expired March 6.

The contract is currently extended day-to-day, and can be unilaterally canceled by either party with 72 hours notice.

“We are nearly six weeks past the expiration of our contract, and management has yet to offer any significant proposals regarding pay or health care. In fact, there is still no comprehensive contract offer,” said Rick Icaza, president of UFCW 770, in a press release. “Management’s unwillingness to negotiate in good faith, and instead play chicken with the well being of their employees and employees’ families is wrong.”

“We are asking our members to authorize negotiators to call a strike if negotiations do not proceed in a timely manner. Management cannot continue to insult their employees and customers in this way. Authorization to call a strike is a drastic measure, but one that will hopefully bring management to the table for meaningful and honest negotiations,” concluded Icaza.

Icaza Talks with KNX 1070’s John Brooks

The last grocery strike and lockout began in October 2003 and lasted for four months.

  • WG

    Be thankful you have a job!

  • arie

    If you think you can find a better job with your skills than by all means strike.

  • Really

    Unbelievable how these selfish people want more money in this terrible California economy. Higher gas has already caused the price of food to go up. Now, they want more pay & benefits, so we get passed the cost through even higher food prices than now. Unions are disgusting in the state, and one of the main reasons why California is in such a mess.

    Some people should be glad to be working…period.

    • tired of people making weak arguments

      All i have to say is that people should read up on labor history in the United States before they comment…it would make their arguments a lot stronger.

      • Speaking Of Weak

        LOL!! Speaking of making a weak argument.

      • Daisy

        So if they do strike, are they all sitting on a $$ nest egg to get themselves through while they’re not working? It’s awfully expensive to support one’s self + a family in this economy. I guess merely having a job is no longer good enough.

      • Ron

        We don’t give a damn about labor history, we want lower prices and they won’t go down with your undesirable demands.

        You better read up on job hunting, because if you haven’t noticed, the people are overwhelmingly against the union/strike. Then you’ll have to live in the real world.

    • Mark

      Grocery workers these days are not as well paid as you might think . Please take a moment and do some research and you may be surpised at what you discover. Most workers just want to preserve what they have rather than giving in to big business. Look at their balance sheets, 4 billion in profits and half a billion in investor dividends. The companies are not in dire straights by a long shot. The grocery workers are not selfish, you are an ass for even saying that. They show up for work everyday and are generally happy to see YOU come in to shop and on another note look up how many hours grocery workers spend doing volunteer work in the communities where the operate. Again, you will be surprised about how UNSELFISH these people are…….

      • Bill Coleman

        Mark u r very much not a business person. Look at all the non-union newer stores like Winco, Fresh-N-easy and all the Mexican stores that have all u have u have at lower prices. Check out Stater Bros. markets with 169 So. Cal. stores and no strike. I was union for 30 years, my health care costs me (for one person) $640 per month and $85 Dr. co-pays. Please look at your competition. Also, I was union pres for 2 terms. Look at year end dividends, they r not doing as well as u say. If they r, u and I can start a nu grocery chain! Good luck,Bill.

      • richie-rich

        You make a good point there Mark. Let me add that these folks are mostly part-timers who work anywhrere from twenty four to thirty hours a week at 9 dls/hr. If you do the numbers that is not a lot of income. Thus, the proposed contribution, while it may not seem as too much to the rest of us, it is a large percentage of their wages considering that higher co-pays and less coverage is written in the contract language. I wonder how much, percentage wise, the executives pay for their coverage, if any.

    • Mark

      Ron, I’m just saying that everyone should be wise and contemplate how today’s decisions effect the future and no, I don’t need an English lesson. That was quite rude…

    • Gabriel

      It is truly sad all around. First of all I was a union member of 770 and believe me that Union was worthless. Basically they are just ripping off their own employees and they do nothing as far as protecting the employee. I know we need to be very grateful for having a job in these times but the fact is employers are taking advantage of this situation, to feed their own greed. So don’t automatically go off on the employee for wanting better benefits and a livable wage. Big corporations like Kroger (who own Ralphs, and many other markets) just do not want to share the wealth with the fellow american

      • Alice Radley

        It’s a shame that the American people look so poorly on the working man. It breaks my heart that seeking an honest days pay for and honest days work has become such an evil thing.

    • Ron

      Mark, did I miss something? I looked back through my comments to you & I don’t see where I said that you need an English lesson, unless you mean your typo. I did not mean it to be mean. I apologize, if you took it that way.

    • Ron

      Very interesting Mark. You say “the state government is too big and wastes too much money” but you also say that “prop 13 severley”(should be severely) “limits the tax revenue for the state.” Are you suggesting that Prop.13 should be repealed? If so that would only put more money, into the hands of our wasteful state government. And many people would lose their homes, because of the tremendous increase in property taxes. Not a good solution.

      You also say that “Regulations have made it too expensive to create new jobs in the state” but that’s exactly why companies have to send their jobs out of state or overseas.

      You can’t have it both ways.

    • Mark

      Not selfish and don’t even have an offer to consider. Just want both sides to get busy and come up with a contract to vote on. The workers are caught in the middle and you are ignorant for making mean comments.

    • becky

      You need to research before you speak. I am the spouse of a grocery worker and they are not!!! asking for more money. They just want to keep what they already have. The corporations for Vons, Ralphs are to blame for the mess. We are happy to be working but if your company wanted to start taking things away from you what would you do

      • Ron

        Becky, you might want to do some research before you speak, too. I know of people that work for school districts that HAVE had things taken away from them. Forced furlough days, pay cuts and LOST JOBS.

        And the last one of the above 3, LOST JOBS, is what YOUR husband will be getting, if they strike again.

        People are SICK and TIRED of your UNION STRIKES and WILL shop, in large numbers, at NON-UNION stores. Then your husband WILL LOSE his JOB, because his store will go BELLY UP, since WE will NO longer shop at ANY UNION stores.


  • Grocery Store Workers To Vote On Strike Authorization | Los Angeles for Me

    […] Grocery store workers at Southland area markets are voting Wednesday whether or not to authorize a strike. More from:… […]

  • Tom Albert

    Stater Bros., Trader Joe’s, WalMart, etc. Go ahead and strike, and see your empolyer permantently loose customers to: Fresh and Easy, Stater Bros., Target, Trader Joes’s, Walmart, etc. With the loss of customers, your employer will now be faced with laying you off.

  • Alice Radley

    I stand in solidarity with my working brothers and sisters. If there is a strike, it’ll be a long while before Vons, Ralphs or Albertsons gets my business. I’ll be shopping at How’s market in Trancas for quite a while.

  • LaLa

    STRIKE STRIKE STRIKE! If employers where ethical in the way they treat employees there would have never been a need to form unions. Our current economic climate is a clear indication that ETHICS still does not exist and that big business is all about profits while ripping of the public and undervaluing their employees. Was it not subprime lending, price gauging and other unethical behavior that highly contributed to this economic mess? Aren’t these same businesses shipping jobs overseas to escape paying people a living wage? They wanna overcharge the public for products & services, yet not want to pay us enough to even be able to afford them and people think thats ok, are you nuts!
    Just because people want to be treated and compensated fairly does not mean they don’t appreciate having a job. Since when does having a job mean you have to settle for less? I applaud these workers for having the COURAGE to stand up for what they believe in and securing the future for workers to come after them, you have my full support (I survived your last strike).

    • 1790's nascar dawg

      Actually Lala, unions were formed because in the early 1900’s people were dying daily from diseases and injuries. Unions were formed to protect workers. Now federal OSHA, and more so Cal-OSHA protect workers much better. During the depression, workers would line construction sites and dangerous factories “waiting” for a job. I seldom see a business agent outside of his air conditioned car that you strikers pay for. Save your money, it is a tough job market out there.

    • Alice Radley

      Exactly. You’ve really said it all. Glad to know I’m not alone in my feelings!

      • icecream

        I strongly believe that membership in your union should be strictly voluntary. That gives the union the necessary incentive to perform in the employees’ best interests.. It also provides for a greater level of accountability to those that the union is supposed to represent..

    • icecream

      To LAlA…
      You hit the nail right on the head. The employees are not the problem. That’s just what the big grocery companies want everyone to think. Unions are there to PROTECT the employees’ rights. To ensuret that employees are treated fairly. Thae is, of course IF the unions that are in place actually effectively represent their members and not stuff their own pockets..
      I hope a strike is averted, but if they strike,

      • Ron

        Icecream, wake up an smell the truth. The unions are THERE to LINE THEIR OWN pockets. And, as some union members, especially teachers, have said, the unions take their dues and vote against many of the teachers wishes. They don’t represent your views, just the unions.

    • Bill Coleman

      Unions were formed to reduce DEATHS about 80 years ago. I worked in dangerous trades like drilling and blasting tunnel construction. That is where u need a union. I was president of my local for two terms to help keep my guy save. Look at all the non-union stores in Cali, Walmart, Winco, Fresh-N-Easy, And all the Mexican stores that have everything u have. This is where Californians will shop. Good luck. :-)

    • thatgirl

      Really?! The rest of us all have to contribute quite a bit to our health insurance, this is NOTHING NEW! If they strike, those jobs will be quickly filled by people who are desperate to work right now. Don’t they realize that California has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country right now? Do they really think they have a leg to stand on?



  • Gary

    The fact that management has yet to sit down at the bargaining table speaks volumes. Unions were created to prevent abuse, but the public seems to think it was to promote greed. I’ve been a union member for 22 years. I earn a decent wage, I have health insurance for my family and my employer still makes a very good profit. Unions are a good thing when both sides bargain in fairness. More unions mean better wages, mean more spending, mean more jobs.

    • Alice Radley

      This idea that the general public has about workers some how getting a free ride, or living high on the hog .. it’s mind boggling. All you need do is look to Wisconsin to see what “our fellow Americans” think about the common worker. It’s disgusting.

    • Ron

      Gary, unions drive up prices and create monopolies, which is deterimental to competition. Competition lowers prices and creates better products.

    • Gabriel

      That’s great Gary that you are making a decent wage and I do not know which union you are a member of but from my own experience I was in the UFCW union which paid me the minimum wage yet forced me to be in the union or not work there at all. Also when I was behind in my union dues the “union” tried to fire me !! that’s right not management but the “union” !!!! Most large corporations are goiing the same route, join the union or don’t work!!! How’s that for supporting the employee. The bottom line is the rich want to be richer and to hell with the rest of us.

      • Ron

        Gabriel, you should be commended for speaking up about your experience with the union. Especially since it shows the DICTATORIAL side of the UNION. This is America, not some 3rd world country. You have shown that neither, FREEDOM of SPEECH and/or independent thinking(choice), is allowed, if you are a union member, and forget about working in any industry that is CONTROLLED by the union.

        Yours is not an isolated case. I have spoken to other union members, that have said privately, that they are afraid of speaking out or voting against the union AGENDA, because they fear losing their job. BEWARE PEOPLE, is this the type of BOSS that you want to work for !!!

        I hope that VONs, RALPHs and ALBERTSONs supermarkets take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to stand up to the union and give NOTHING. With our horrible economy, this is a great chance to rid these companies of union control and have instant access to thousands of new employees, desperate and THANKFUL for a JOB.

        BUST the UNIONS NOW !!!! No room in AMERICA for their DICTATORIAL control.

  • John

    Common sense would tell you not to strike. This is the only job I know that has great pay and benefits with no education required. Everyone is seeking an honest days pay for an honest days work, but that is not the point. Grocery workers are paid well above any other job that does not require an education. Sorry, but in these economical times I don’t need to spend more money on groceries to give a raise to a checker that stands there and scans food items. I would rather scan my own items and save on the food bill.

    • Ron

      SELF-CHECKOUTS, JOHN. That IS the way to go. Spread the word.

    • Gabriel

      Where you have been for the last decade??? Grocery store employees barely make a decent wage (and that’s if you were hired prior to the 2003-2004 strike). And John what makes you think grocery workers are uneducated??

  • adolfo

    Go ahead and strike, I need a job and will replace you in a heartbeat. I am not intimidated by the people striking, they have a right to strike and I have a right to work without being physically attacked. Let’s see if the strikers stay civilized.

  • barri

    let’s them strike then we will take over because we need jobs !!!

  • Ron

    “WALK ON BY”, remember that song. That’s what we will be singing, if you strike.

    REMEMBER, always use SELF-CHECKOUTS, at any of the stores that have them, because it will eventually replace the UNGRATEFUL union employees. If you are a union member, you better THINK twice before voting to strike. There are thousands of unemployed people waiting for YOUR jobs !!

  • bcb

    The one thing I dread when supermarket employees strike is the way people are harrassed as they are walking into the store. That was my past experience. I shouldn’t have to be made to feel guilty by someone picketing because I need to buy diapers and milk for my child.

    • Tyler

      Go to Target! There are other stores around. By you crossing the line makes you a fool. You make no sense!

      • bcb

        That does not make me a fool. It makes me a mother who puts the needs of her child before anyone else. Perhaps you’re not a parent and don’t understand that. On the other hand, why should I have to drive many miles out of my way to go to Target when I have the 3 major supermarkets within walking distance to my home.

  • Martin B

    BCB, you run over the knuckleheads who get in your way. go to Trader Joes or Henry’s. Unions are useless and serve no purpose but to line bureaucratic A-holes with our hard earned money.

    • bcb

      Martin B, I love your first suggestion, that’s hilarious.

      • Pro-Union

        You’re a mother and you find the idea of running over people hilarious. I can see your demon-spawn are going to be raised just right…

  • Tired Of It

    Dismantled the unions and hire illegals! Our food bills will go WAY down.

    • thatgirl

      I agree. I sometimes go to this little Hispanic food market nearby and I think there are several illegal and legal immigrants working there and I get the BEST service from all the employees…BETTER than I would get any Ralph’s that’s for sure. Their produce is a fraction of the cost and BETTER quality than Ralph’s too.

  • Jay

    It’s hard finding a job right now–people are lining up by the hundreds to get a job at McDonalds. This might not be the best time to complain. The strikers better be prepared to go job hunting because their positions WILL BE FILLED.

  • Tyler

    I will support the strike!

  • Dottie

    Go ahead and strike but leave the customers out of your reason. I will do what I did last time, Farmers Market, Trader Joes, and Costco. Actually, that is where I have done most of my shopping since the last strike.

  • Martin B

    Tyler, you are obviously an idiot. there is no law saying you can’t cross a line. Oh, if I had you in front of me, I’d smack you like a red headed step child. You suffer from size issues don’t you. By the way, I didn’t know you became king turd of poop mountain and can tell people what to do. Wiener.

    • Pro-Union

      The hell is wrong with you? Weirdo.

  • bcb

    Thank you Martin B, I love your response to Tyler.

    • Pro-Union

      Yes, you seem to love all forms of violence against others. Little bit psychotic, no?

      • bcb

        Pro-Union get yourself a sense of humor and stop taking the little comical comments so seriously. Lighten up.

  • drozone69

    Good I will be first in line to fill out an application and be a scab!!This is why corporate America has saturated this nation with third worl refugees.So that Americans will lose there jobs one way or another.

    • Pro-Union

      No you won’t. Why aren’t you working now?

      • Martin B

        Mind your business Mr Pro Useless. This person may work nights. I was in a union and received no support when I was released because I no longer could work anymore overtime for a shift. Trust me, no violence intended, unions are pointless. Support the smaller chains just stay away from Walmart. Talk about evil incarnate.

  • Katie Cole

    why not just shop at winco there are much cheaper and they have a lot of good stuff for the same price if not cheaper

  • Pro-Union

    Supermarkets are hiring all the time, why are you waiting for a strike to find a job? Lazy git, get off your ass and find a job now!

    • Amber

      Then that would make you an “unskilled moron” you dirty scab. Educate yourself before you open your mouth. Then you would be working every weekend, holiday, and night giving up your life for the public.

    • Gabriel

      Hey Pro-Union you must be a union official huh?!? Cause the way you defend the Unions you must obviously belong to one that’s been around a long time (like Teamsters) and not work in the grocery-retail business unless you do work for the grocery-retail business and are part of the union management. Prior to the Bush (W) adminstration you could have the choice of joining the union. Not anymore, you either join or don’t work.

      • Ron

        Gabriel, thanks for another important bit of information, about union history.

  • see all sides

    What people do not realize is that…its not the employees fault, its the big companies trying to take away from them….such as reducing wages for newer workers…..having you work six days without overtime pay, changing holiday pay scale…changing the pension plans…medical aswell…people only see so much….if you want to know what going on…go to ufcw770, see for yourself..and tel me if what the bigger companies are doing is write…

    • thatgirl

      Um, I work long hours 10-12 hrs almost every day, and do not get paid overtime because I’m a salary worker; I contribute A LOT from my paycheck for health insurance. I go above and beyond all the time, in return, I’ve gotten very good MERIT raises. In the REAL world, there’s no such thing as automatic cost of living increases. I’m sorry, what they are complaining about is not a big deal. Grocery checkers have it easier now with scanners doing most of the thinking for them at the check-out line and automatic change machines handing out correct change to customers. In the REAL world, we are cross-trained, multi-taskers who do more than what is described in our “contracts”. The other day at the grocery store, I tried to buy a cake from the bakery dept and no one would help me because it wasn’t their department…so I walked out of the store without a cake and went elsewhere.

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