Stores May Close Their Doors If Grocery Workers Strike

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — At least two Southern California supermarket chains are threatening to close some or all of their stores if union workers walk out this weekend.

“I would wait as long as I could and then I’ll try to do my best to come back and support them,” Sue Delaney, a customer, told Juan Fernandez, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9.

Nearly 62,000 union workers, who work for Ralphs, Albertons and Vons, don’t want to walk off the job either. At issue, health care benefits.

Eight months into contract negotiations, the supermarkets are apparently not willing to compromise on health care contributions.

“I devoted my life to this company,” Rozanne Gonzales, a Vons cashier, said. “I appreciated them and I thought they appreciated me back.”

“For 35 years, I’ve been a loyal employee. We’re not asking for much. We’re asking for a fair contract,” Jackie Gilmed, A Ralphs cashier, said.

While some customers are at odds, others are seeing this time as an opportunity to apply for replacement jobs in case there is a strike.

“In the end, I still need a job. I have my family to support,” an applicant said.

“It makes me sad that I’m going to be out there fighting for what I believe is my right and these people are going to come in and take my job away,” Gilmed added.

If there is a strike, Ralphs is ready – saying they will initially close all stores while they regroup.

In a statement, they said:

“During a strike, it is difficult to create a good shopping experience for our customers and a good working environment for our employees. We will evaluate the situation as it progresses.”

Albertsons also issued a statement, saying:

“We believe up to 100 stores could close for some or all of the strike. Any decision to reopen closed stores will be based on the business conditions at the end of a strike.”

The deadline is set for Sunday night. Both sides are expected to return to the bargaining table this weekend.

In 2003, during the lockout and strike, grocery stores had a loss of about $2 billion.

More from Juan Fernandez
  • sab

    I hope they all close, they sell plastic foods, like gross plastic tomato’s, folks go off to your local Farmers Market’s, you can find almost anything and everything there and support the local small shops that sell can items, or 99 cent stores.

    Let’s change America and take down corps. like the hippies once tried in the 60’s, don’t sell out people.

    nah, you’ll all sit on your butt’s and do nothing, bet cha

    • Ron

      People, Now we Know why T.C. is SO concerned about the UNIONS. TODD CONGER, same last name as GREG CONGER(Pres. of Local 324), is a spokesman for the same Local 324 of the United Food and Commercial Workers UNION. That’s why when HE SAID, ” If grocery stores DO choose to strike do NOT take jobs at these stores and do NOT cross picket lines. You’ll not only be hurting the employees of those stores; you’ll also be hurting yourselves.” HE was just trying to PROTECT his JOB and CUSHY lifestyle !!!!

      Isn’t it interesting HOW the UNION Reps try to disguise their true IDENTITIES and make comments like they are just another member of the PUBLIC voicing their OPINION.

      The PUBLIC spoke LOUD and CLEAR. Their ANGER STOPPED this STRIKE and NOW we MUST let all UNIONS hear OUR voice. WE WILL NO LONGER ALLOW the UNION to DISRUPT our lives and at ELECTION time we will TAKE BACK our COUNTRY by VOTING OUT all DEMOCRATS or any politician that SUPPORTS the UNIONS !!!!

  • Pooky

    I am all for having a good, decent job. But they need to realize that * most * jobs require their employees to pay into the health care now. They can’t have it all for free. As hard as they work, they are consider non-skilled (yes, that’s right, non-skilled), compared to a physician, lawyer, teacher or a nurse, and can be easily replaced. Sad to see them do this to themselves. They ought to be happy they’re working when so many are not.

  • brandon

    Stop all the fights, the bad comments and hope that they can resolve this.LET’S PRAY FOR ALL THESE PEOPLE NOW THAY MAY GOD OPEN THEIR HEARTS AND MIND!!!Resolve this PEACEFULLY!!!

  • John Dacey

    Aww nuts! I was hoping “Vons” was going to close their useless “Pavilion’s” at Ventura Blvd and Kester Ave. What a useless store! They have cut back the diversity of their product so that a trip there is an exercise in futility and an dissatisfying experience. They could close forever and it wouldn’t bother me one whit!

  • Linda

    Fighting for their “rights”? What rights? They have a JOB. They will have to pay a pittance for health care — my family pays over $200 a week for high deductible coverage! Unions have become greedy, blood-sucking entities committed to hurting as many people as they can. This is a very selfish strike and I hope the stores break the backs of the unions and stop this nonsense!

    • Ron

      BREAK the BACKS of the UNIONS !!! That sounds like a GREAT rallying campaign slogan for the next election.
      If you are a voting Democrat and HATE what the UNIONS are doing to OUR COUNTRY, DON’T vote DEMOCRAT next election, because the unions can’t survive without the support of the CORRUPT DEMOCRATIC politicians.
      IF you are a member of the union and feel that a strike is justified for the small increase in health premiums, then YOU are just flat out GREEDY !!!

  • Me

    Amen Linda, I was paying 1200 a month for lousy health care for a family of four, these fools are about to find out how good they had it, there’s about 12 million people who would be glad to take their jobs and most of those people like me are WAY over qualified to be boxing groceries, but would jump at the chance to be employed.

  • Amy

    Unions suck. They take your $40 of so dollars per month and all they give you once a year is a pin, calender, magnet and maybe a Bar-B-Q at a ghetto park. I have worked at both UFCW and Teamster represented jobs for years and they are ALL the same – visiting work areas with a big smile on their faces while management laughs because the employees could do the same thing without paying union dues. I have no been in a non-union job for the last 6 years and couldn’t be happier. Every time I see a naive driver (mostly minorities have these) with a bumper sticker like “Work Union Live Better” etc I laugh so hard and say L O O S E R…lol

  • john

    They are not going to close. This is just a scare tactic to get consumers on their side. Anybody that took business 101 knows that they have costs to cover. Closing the store and not taking in any revenue is much worse an option than weathering out a strike and remaining open. Give me a break.

    • Hardmoney

      I read another article that said that if a store location is closed for 30 days or more, the company can re-open that store as a non-union store. This condition is said to be part of the Union Contract. Closing the stores , rather than hiring replacements, seems like a smart move for the store, to me. 30 day from today you got yourself a Non-union store ! !

      • Ron

        If that’s the case, then definitely CLOSE the STORES for at least 30 days. That would be FANTASTIC !!!!

  • Dr.Phil

    They don’t realize how foolish they are being. Think about it: 1 out of 5 people that walk thru their doors to shop are unemployed. That’s not even counting the underemployed. It rubs people the wrong way. I think most people will stop shopping there altogether.

    • Doug

      These people just want to make a decent living. They aren’t ball players , radio and television talk show hosts , movie stars , c.e.o.’s who make millions a year. They don’t fly around in private jets and have homes all over the world .It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what corporate greed has done to this country. These grocery workers are not part of this greed.

      • Dr.Phil

        I still say they’re foolish. I pay $450 a month to cover my family’s insurance and they’re crying over $32/month for individual coverage, maybe $100/month for family coverage. It’s not like its a government union. They’re grocery workers. Geesh! I’m wondering if these markets can shut down altogether and reopen as non-union markets. Foolish.

      • Ron

        Dr. Phil, I believe they stated family coverage at $92/mo. and that would be fantastic, if they could close and re-open NON-UNION. At a minimum, re-open with more, if not all self-checkouts. That equals fewer union employees(fewer required benefits). Those that insist on a cashier, can pay a charge for it, then they might take the time to try out self-checkout and find it VERY convenient and much more EFFICIENT.

        Dr. Phil, can’t you do a show on the UGLY TRUTH of FORCED UNION labor?

  • Igor Doublebubblevich.

    Shopping at those 3 stores are like going to H & R Block, RIP OFF , food for less is much cheapier.

    • frank

      Ralphs owns Food4Less , think about it

      • Tim

        frank.. which is probably what they will convert all the Ralphs to after they’ve been closed for 30 days!

  • Michael J. McDermott

    Too slow and they yak yak yak too much.

  • Phoebe

    What do these workesr consider a “fair contract”? How much do they currently contribute to their health insurance? It’ll a tough sell to garner sympathy this time around with the economy being the way it is. I can tell by some of these comments.

  • Steve

    I really feel badly for the majority of the union members that work for the grocery chains. They are forced to be a member of the union when they are hired and the union has caused major stress to the majority of workers that appreciate their job and are grateful to be working. They do not want to strike. The union represents 60,000 members, but the union never published the exact number of members that voted to strike. It bogus and the union has caused very happy grocery workers with harm not only to them, but to their complete family. This union is out of line and should be sued for the destruction to grocery workers and their family future. Next time you speak with a grocery worker from Albertsons, Vons, or Ralphs tell them your sorry for what the union is doing to you and you wish for this issue to be resolved so you can continue to work as a loyal employee. The grocery worker is hurt badly and the public must understand they appreciate being employed and want to work. Back off union!

    • Ron

      Grocery Union members, let’s take a survey, how many of you voted against or wanted to vote against the strike? Use a fictitious screen name and the union won’t know. I think that the Union did NOT disclose the count, because it was against the strike.

  • Phoebe

    Hey, just a thought…what does the president of their union make as an annual salary?

    • wgaf

      More than aS$wipe union cops and firefighters and that’s a lot.

      • wgaf

        Post a link to one department hiring, aS$face and then tell me which aS$wipe cops or firemen you know give all or part their salary to charity. Hey, I know, et your head out of your aS$ and maybe you can take a fresh breath and then STFU, puS$y dumbf**k moron.

      • Mufon

        Quit complaining and join the police department, most of them are still hiring. Hey, I know, join the police, then donate all or part of your salary to charity. Put your money where your mouth and blog are. Or does that require a little too much initiative? Or are you too “principled” or “smart” to be a dumb cop or fireman?

    • Kelley

      Over $335,000 a year

  • Grocery Workers, Stores Prepare For Possible Strike « CBS Los Angeles

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  • Ranger

    I WISH all I paid for my benefits was $35 a month. These people are a bunch of cry babies.

  • Sunny Ballardo

    I worked 30 yrs for the L.A.U.S.D. and now retired and pay $96.20 amonth to Medicare plus $155.00 every Jan. 1st deduct for Medicare and our rates rates raised each yr. and these cry babies don’t want to pay $36.00 per month single person and $92.00 amonth for families…and I have ins. as secondary and pay $20.00 for some meds and $60.00 for some others–today at Von’s the checkers whining about the stores gross so much–they are the owners suppose to make $$$$-I’ll cross the picket line the Unions are too big and powerful today—Humbug

  • Chivo

    I think everyone needs to get the facts about this pending strike… My son works for the grocery biz, and someone needs to stand up to these greedy companies. First of all, yes it is a fact about raising the health care benefits 36.00 individual and 92,00 for families…. They have no problems with that. The problem is the trust funds willl be flat broke within a yr… Yr in a half tops! So anyone who gets Sick or say gets cancer, there is no medical anymore, funds dried out….just lay back and die. So, while you son or daughter is gravely I’ll and unless you can pay for it yourself, start making plans where your going to bury your love one, while these huge companies make record profits…..over 20 yes 20 billion dollars last yr….. Oh not to mention they want to be able to transfer part time workers over 40 miles 1 way, but give you only 12 hours a week!!! Can one of you please show me how you are supose to live off that? Oh just go get another job! There are so many to pick from!!! Just tell me this, how many of you dislike illegals or legals coming to our country, taking jobs from people .they just want to be treated fairly . I suggest u all gets ALL the facts before u speak. Don’t just listen to what the news say, go ask a checker or a clerk.

    • Ron

      You don’t ask a UNION member what the TRUTH is, because they are SPOON FED LIES by their UNION BOSSES.

      As far as an employer wanting to transfer employees, That IS their prerogative, because they OWN the company. Your UNION spoon fed lies have made you SO NAIVE to the ways of the REAL WORLD.

      Unfortunately for your son and you, HE(son) will find out the hard way, when he loses his job.

      And the CEO of a PROFIT making grocery store produces JOBS for EMPLOYEES, BUT a president of a UNION does not produce JOBS, HE just SUCKS the LIFE out of a JOB producing company.

      Very well stated, Kelley !!!

    • Kelley

      How much does your son pay in union dues monthly? What does he get for that money? The union boss makes over $335,000 per year. For what? He’s nothing more than another part of management – exaclty what they rail against all the time.

      They want more and do less all the time. Does your son even know how to count change, or is he one of the majority that only slides a product across a scanner, then reads the change from the screen on the register?

      No sympathy here – if they could do math, they would quickly figure out that they won’t make enough money back to cover what they will lose while striking, regardless of the final outcome.

      If they were worth more, someone would be paying them more. They aren’t.

      If you want to get even with the stores, stop eating – that will show ’em!

  • Chivo

    P.S people how many of you were complaining when gas prices were going up. Multi billion dollar companies making money off us all!!!!

    • wgaf

      Nobody complained, we all loved it … dumbf**k.

  • Cora Mason Atkinson

    Well it seemed to me they knew they were going to be open because they were stocking the shelves yesterday. They just want us to spend and buy more and raise prices. They all need to shut up or close who cares. There to high any way

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