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Grocery Store Workers To Vote On Strike Authorization

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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.

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