LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Southern California grocery workers have voted to allow their union to call a strike against three major supermarket chains if contract talks break down.

The strike authorization vote was approved Wednesday by an overwhelming margin, according to a notice posted Thursday on the website of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770.

The site didn’t mention the vote count.

Seven union locals representing more than 60,000 workers have been working under a contract with Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons that expired last month.

The vote doesn’t mean a strike is imminent. The union would be required to give stores a 72-hour warning if they
decide ask workers to walk off the job. Contract negotiations are set to resume this month.

Representatives of the supermarket chains have called the vote premature.

In 2003-04, a grocery workers strike and lockout dragged on for 141 days, wiping out the savings of most workers and costing supermarkets an estimated $1.5 billion.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (33)
  1. ILLEGALS says:

    “In 2003-04, a grocery workers strike and lockout dragged on for 141 days, wiping out the savings of most workers and costing supermarkets an estimated $1.5 billion.”

    Goes to prove the Grocers’ Unions losing grip & power. Even if they succeed, the Grocery’s chains were closing their doors left & right ending with more job loss. Losing their epic battle with non-union local markets.

  2. 1900innoho says:

    I always wondered if the union members were as greedy and disgusting they appeared. This removes ALL doubt. The stores should just fire them all, hire non-union workers and give jobs (which are good paying ones for sure) and go on with life. The customers would applaud the move and perhaps the unions and their minions would be set straight.

    1. cj says:

      Can you live on a guaranteed 24 hour week at $8.25 an hour? I don’t think so. Unless you know what you are talking about you should just shut up!!!!!!!

      1. D says:

        that’s for a courtesy clerk. the wages go up with time and promotions.

    2. JOHN says:


  3. Lou says:

    Last time these workers went on strike they had to call on Jessie jackson which they lost my support forever.

  4. ILLEGALS says:

    These chains aren’t even keeping up with current Ethnic demands & competitiveness. Ever wonder how El Super, Super A’s, Superior, Food 4 Less, Ranchero, etc.. thrive in this economy & always have their parking lots full with cars & customers & the same Grocers Unions Chains sat at least 1/2 empty???

    They’re out of touch with market demands in most hoods..

    1. John Price says:

      You know, Food 4 Less as well as Stater Bros are union companies. It just goes to show you that it’s the people running the companies, not the unions.

      The fact that you thought Food 4 Less was non union should tell you something.

  5. Onclewillie says:

    Bad timing on the part of the union leadership. I didn’t notice, but did the union executives agree to accept only strike benefits while their membership was on strike? Didn’t think so.

    1. John Price says:

      Quote your source for this statement.

    2. John Price says:

      Also, you should keep in mind that the union “execs” are not on strike. They are still working, doing the job that they are being paid to do by their employers (the union worker). Why wouldn’t they be paid?

  6. Union member says:

    If you have not worked with union job before, or even had a job at a grocery store. The pay starts at minimum wage FYI. those who say oh yeah its a great paying job don’t know the industry has changed so much over the years and since that strike, the only people who do get good pay happen to be the ones that have been there 20+ yrs. Good luck to any one who goes in now and tries to get over minimum wage. What the union has done is make sure that union members have a job where they can be semi guaranteed a pay raise every year, that the working conditions are good. That you are not made to work in bad conditions, and be accused of not working hard enough. Many grocery workers, work very hard, and some times are made to work off the clock even though it’s not allowed. Guess who are the ones that are working more and earning less the grocery workers that are non-union that’s who. Like Julie said not every one wants to go on strike. Most vote to go on strike because many of the benefits that you believe we are getting from the supermarkets are great let me tell you that is not so if it where not for the union there is no way grocery workers would have any benefits, like medical, a retirement fund, or even enough hours to work and still be able to pay bills. Yes there are good and bad things about the union. The good stand out more then the bad. In my opion.

    1. TT says:

      the bad part is the dues you have to pay out of your already limited check – which really doesnt leave you with much ….

    2. DALE says:

      I agree. My son worked at Albertson’s and was lucky to get 24 hours a week. How is a person supposed to live on that, especially if you have a family.

  7. steph says:

    Not everyone approved this. And there are several of us against a strike and I agree with the chains the vote was premature.

  8. KeithS says:

    Agree with the first point by ILLEGALS. The union is a joke-the workers got very little out of the last strike and supermarkets lost their way as consumers decided they were happy to bag their own groceries at non-union chains. I am not sure what either side expects to gain here. The fact is the supermarket chains are going the way of Circuit City-they keep believing the way to compete is by SAVING money by continually cutting service, carrying less product and charging outrageous prices. I don’t have the answers but union or no union, can’t the chains look for ways to bring people back to the stores instead of driving us away?.

  9. Steve the Scab says:

    Sweet! Scabbing here I come. Nothing says good times like being paid 25 bucks an hour to stock shelves. I love super market strikes!

    1. TT says:

      @ steve -My point exactly…. but that name is quite catchy,pretty funny… hehehe 🙂

    2. rucus says:

      Good steve , you will be picking the scabs off your head after you are hit with a brick

      1. PPRIME says:

        Sounds like a union bully right there!!! lol

    3. John Price says:

      You’ll get minimum wage and no benefits. The wages and benefits won through collective barganing do not apply to scabs.

  10. Snake Leader says:

    I also agree is ILLEGALS up to a certain degree. The 2003-4 supermarket strike was lost by the union. Everyone who has done some times in the Marines or has studied military history would tell you that strike is like a siege. The union did cut off a lot of the money going into the Ralphs, Vons etc but they made a mistake by giving them an inlet. Raplhs was getting money from Food 4 Less and so on. They have the same parent company. The super markets knew about this tactic, they learned from the previous strike back in the 70’s and would NOT allowed it this second time around. If you are in a siege, you must block all that is coming in and “starve” them out. Or in this case drive them so broke to a point where they have to come back to the negotiation table. Lets see if this time the union has learned from its past mistakes.

  11. TT says:

    @ Julie – Thats the bad part… Some people just want to work – while others dont take into account the economy, other people will JUMP at the chance to get any job,including one that someone else is fighting to keep – doesnt mean its fair – just means people are desparate these days and NEED a paycheck – no matter how big or how small ….. Its really a time to protect what you have … Not complain about what you dont……

  12. John says:

    Well Trader Joe’s, Henry’s, and Sprouts will all be making money hand over fist now while we’re reminded we don’t really need the big three chains. Which in turn will close more stores and reduce the power of the union further. This was not a bright move.

    1. B says:

      Don’t forget Fresh and Easy a NON-union store that pays its employees $10.00 to start, medical, dental, 401K, quarterly performance bonuses, and paid time off. Sure they only guarantee 20 hrs per week, reality is we’re growing at a great rate and a strike will only push more customers thru our doors. If I need a better paying/more hours job, a grocery store is NOT the way to go. 😉

  13. drozone69 says:

    Unions were good in the past before we were innundated with third world trash.This is exactly why we this nations wants the MUD race,to break americans working unions.in the past Americans joined unions by boycotting the employers.Not now.Half the people cant read english and are there for the prime example of why they are allowed into this broken nation.This is how Americans are replaced with foriegners.Mexico has never had workers unions.Corporate America simply imported that race and mentality.Sad but true.

  14. Kevin says:

    I worked in a Union before and would never do it again. First the Union Local doesnt have its members in mind when they call for a strike. What do they care. while you as the Union member which pays dues every month are required tp spend many hours out on a picket line to recieve your pentance of a few bucks, they how ever are still collecting full salaries while they so call negoiate in your behalf. Then they give in a get you a 1.5 % pay raise a year for 3 years and meanwhile you have lost your savings and still got the same results from the company that you were offered before you went on strike. Im sorry I agree with the others. In this ecomomy its stupid to go on strike. Be thankful you have a job and that your not unemployed. guess I will be shopping at Cosco or Walmart soon.

    1. TT says:

      Its would be alright if the union actually got anywhere – but for some reason – they dont have “a leg to stand on” – i am not against unions (i was in unions too)- they were great for my parents and protecting workers rights…But it doesnt seem like that is what they accomplish anymore…..Not sure why….

    2. John hates Scabs says:

      All above are interesting points. But a couple of things stand out. First thing is the union workers are not fighting because they “have” to. They are fighting because they have no choice. Call it a last ditch effort or whatever you please. But these members are upset that there upper brass are paying millions of millions of dollars to share holders. This is fine, however what is happening is the Brass is getting greedier by the day. I mean 5 Billion in profits? I think anyone would be upset union or not. Especially if your TOTAL yearly income in 25,000. And your being required to pay 7,500 in copays or fees to have insurance for your family. Most people with some logic can see why these people are upset.
      @1900innoho Guys like him don’t understand anything about a job. He has the idea that the union members are greedy. I mean really? 25,000 a year. Ya that’s some wall street type greed when they are arguing about health insurance for their family’s.

      And for guys like “Steve the Scabb” Kinda ironic he is commenting on this seeing that he is “Jumping at the chance for 25 dollars an hour” Obviously he is unemployed and has no reason to judge. I mean these workers are paying for him to sit on Mom and Dads basement.

      And finally kevin. You bring up some interesting points, however the final line about shopping at “Walmart”. This is part of the reason why it is so hard for the top change grocery stores to make profits. Now if they made 5 billion dollars in profits. I think they are doing just fine.

  15. Nobody Special says:

    well i worked at food 4 less for almost 5 years and it kinda of sucked that

    i did just as much work as the person who was hired 4 months before me on the older contract was getting paid double what i was and had less hours

    and they where getting double time holidays and i had to work there a year to get 1 holiday at time and half then 2 years to get another holiday at time and half

    then Sundays were joke they where making double and i was at time and half

    so if they where making 12.00 they got shot up to like 24 or more where atl i was only making 13.40

    only people who make the good money are the 3rds and up they have to become non union

    what kills me it these contract should not be worse then the contract before it but either the same or better

    it would be kind of like buying a new computer that is slower then the one i own now and more expensive it just lame

  16. Rick says:

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Albert Einstein
    The union did nothing for you last time and will do nothing for you this time.
    I paid $417 a month for medical insurance for an aerospace manufacturer

    1. John Price says:

      I need to learn how to make aerospace…

  17. Dk says:

    As per Nestle’s request Dreyer’s ice cream will cancel all night routes and terminate the services of Estonson Logistics, to save some company driver in socal. A source from Nestle at Glendale’s Plant, has said that layoffs will follow due to re-route organization. Many local drivers will be forced to seek new employment and or move to surrounding depots in order to stay employed. I have been told that the main reason for cancelling night routes is due to product shortages, invoicing errors and a failed SBT process. Nestle is also looking at poss. ending all DSD services by 2013, with direct ship to warehouse…

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