LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Thousands of local grocery workers faced a potential work stoppage on Friday as their contract with some of the Southland’s biggest chains was set to expire.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports while the situation is far from ideal for most workers, many have been told to prepare for the worst.

An estimated 62,000 workers in southern California may have no choice but to walk out on Sunday when their contract with Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons expires.

Union leaders are bracing for the worst-case scenario as they fight to hang on to what they have in pay and benefits.

Officials caution that a strike is not officially expected any time soon — at least for now.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (33)
  1. tim says:

    Here we go again. I have a family member who works for ralphs no one has said anything yet but he is disabled and needs his job. Its time for all the bickering to stop. Get a contract.

    1. Den says:

      There’s a new generation of corporate executives who don’t give a damn about their workers who are the ones working hard to bring in the money for their greedy pockets. Blame it all on corporate greed.

  2. ken says:

    As far as the grocery industy almost all workers are over paid and the dues the union collect from these workers are a joke. I am not anti worker or anti union but $21.00 an hour to check groceries is a joke – that is a $10.00 – $15.00 max job at best. The problem is with the unions the job stays the same but they drive up the $ rate for the employees / union members doing the job. My sister in – law is a 4th grade teacher in LA she makes 93k a year before benefits and retirement with the summer off. It is a joke !!

    1. get your facts straight says:

      Most of the people checking groceries as you put it are NOT making $21.00 an hour. There are many workers in the union stores making way less that that.

      1. Ralphs Employee says:

        Most of the cashiers are what they call “combo clerks” who are basically baggers that get cashier time occasionally. They make about $.50 an hour above minimum wage during the time they are behind the register. The rest of the time, it’s minimum wage.

        The only people making $21 per hour are those who were lucky enough to start before the last contract. Also, no new hires are getting full time hours.

    2. Queen Mary says:

      I agree that it’s ridiculous for a cashier at a grocery store to get paid $21 an hour, but if they instead got your recommended $15 an hour, where would the difference go? Do you honestly believe that we the consumers, would get a break with lower prices? No, big execs would pocket the difference. They already make 6+figures a year, and they would have no problem widening the gap between rich and poor even further. Why should these people (cashiers) live in poverty and material abstinence so that management can live like kings?

      1. jazz says:

        Tell me which market is paying their checkers $21 an hour so that I can apply. And who are you to dictact what a company should pay their workers.

      2. Mufon says:

        Queen Mary, excellent post.

    3. Den says:

      It’s no wonder that Los Angeles Unified is nearly broke.

  3. annette says:

    come on, we are in a recession…give the people what they want!!!

  4. Blue collar worker says:

    This story is sooo false! No one has been told to walk out of their jobs and no one has been told to prepare for the worst. We have been told that the negotiations are ongoing and will continue until there is an agreement. This Media hype to create a story and get people on edge is counter productive!

  5. Not Ken says:

    Sounds like somebody is a little bitter. Never too late for a career change. And relax a bit…you’ll give yourself a heart attack.

  6. Samantha says:

    Totally agree, media are bloodsucking liars! So sick of hyping the negative and ignoring the positive. They are the problem!

  7. Suzette says:

    I work in the grocery industry and we are in no way over paid. The ones who are paid in the high numbers are few and far between. Most were pushed to retire during the last strike so they wouldn’t loose pension and benefits. We no longer have a retirement plan either which was taken during the last strike. So we have to put our earnings toward our own 401 k if we plan on staying there. Also benefits are horrible and for people like me who have children one being special needs I’m working just to pay medical bill. Not including putting up with the customers we get in that are like Ken here and think we just stand there and the product somehow stocks its self on the shelf. I’m nervous for this contract. What can they take from us next.

  8. kevin says:

    Hey Suzette, quit complaining and get a real career. One that requries going to school and a degree. That way you can choose where to work instead of taking peanuts at these minimum intelligence level jobs!

    1. Jazz says:

      Kevin you moron you obviously don’t have or have never had a job. The problem with this country is that everyone wants a white collar job. Well those are all service oriented job.

      It was the blue collar workers that kept this country on top. White collar jobs are expendable because you can do them anywhere with little overhead.

      Blue collar jobs are just moved to a cheaper jurisdiction within the United States whereas the white collar jobs are moved to India and China. So tell me who has the career?

      1. kevin says:

        Blue collar jobs are for people with no education. All these jobs are being taken by illegals anyway.

    2. icecream says:

      Those “minimum intelligence jobs” that you write of supply the food that fills your refrigerator. EVERY facet of the grocery and food service industry requires a high level of experise….by the way, what super-intelligent occupation do you have ???

    3. Den says:

      Going to school and getting a degree is no guarantee for a good paying job anymore. There are too many people with a degree who are working minimum paying jobs and paying back an enormous student loan.

  9. kevin says:

    Why do you think Albertsons, Vons and Ralphs are more expensive than other markets? The stupid union. I refuse to shop at these markets and overpay for stuff I can get elsewhere and cheaper. They will soon go away anyway.

  10. CW in L.A. says:

    Kevin, So you and your family are so elite that you have no blue collar workers in your family. I have an education and a great job as an engineer, my sister has an education and a great job at a grocery store. I guess we should all feel privileged that you are graced us with your wisdom.

    1. kevin says:

      CW. I am sure your sister is a Manger or in mangement since she got an education, cause if she is bagging groceries obviously she did not graduate from college.

      1. CW in L.A.. says:

        Kevin, either was she is still working for the grocery industry and she still deserves what she makes. So all mighty Kevin you have seemed to ignore the question of what you do for a living. I am cuirious, do you hold the job of GOD or do you just think rather highly of yourself?

      2. Mufon says:

        Kevin’s superior education and pedigree are evident by his grammar. Someone’s sister is a “manger,” or in “mangement?” Ignore him folks, he’s just another unhappy troll.

    2. Queen Mary says:

      He’s a paper pusher in a windowless office the size of a shoe box, and from his people skills you know he has no human contact from 8am-5pm. However, his clip on tie, tells the world his superior in social status.

  11. jazz says:

    What is it with you people. You complain about the people who are on unemployment then you complain about the ones who are employed claiming that they make too much money.

    Who are you to dictate how much money anyone should make?

    If they can make more money more power to them.

    If you really want to complain how about complaining about the executives of insurance companies. One executive can make more than all of the employees on all three shifts in a large grocery store and if they not enough they go up on your premiums.

    Check out Blue Shield. 39% premium increase last year and another 15% for those who weren’t included in the 39% increase.

    Let those who are trying to make a living do their thing.

  12. Robear says:

    Methinks Kevin should be made to re-stock shelves @ 2:00 in the morning for a whole week straight. He’d get a better appreciation of the job grocery workers do. In this economy, any job is a good job, right, but that doesn’t mean workers should be exploited nor be unable to meet their needs. We all need to have a roof over our heads, food, heat, access to services etc., whether we are blue or white collar.

    If Kevin was born with a silver spoon up his A$$, that’s his problem, and no justification for spewing his venom on hard-working people. He’s probably a plant from Von’s etc., trolling on here to stir up trouble.

  13. CW in L.A. says:

    Kevin has obviously left us to save the world or something. Lets all shed a little tear because he left us>>>> NOT

  14. BEN says:

    hi to everybody in this forum lets just step back and breath !!! obviously you all don’t remember the last time this happened when the union struck but for the union to call for a strike now is not good after all we know who lost that battle last time .the workers should not follow their leaders the union bosses because it could cost the innocent workers to lose there jobs .the union bosses would still keep their plush jobs after all so who would lose.WAKE UP EVERYBODY.

    1. get your facts straight says:

      The Unions have NOT called for a strike

  15. Tony Garro says:

    I work for VONs and I am a strong UNION MEMBER and just hope for the best I been there for 5 years and I love what I do with my COmpany and customers !!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Ralphs Employee says:

    I’ve been a Ralphs employee for a little over seven years – I was hired after the last strike ended.

    If there is a strike, I’m out. This isn’t the job I was promised. The pay sucks and so do the benefits. The only thing the union has done for me is given me a bunch of free pens. Okay, those pens are costing me nearly $7.00 per week out of my check.

    Ralphs sucks and so does the union (UFCW).

  17. gina says:

    give me a break.. all of us have had increases in health care costs! There are plenty of people looking for jobs, so go to work or let someone else do it.