Strike Vote Set in Southern California Food Negotiations

UFCW Locals in Southern California representing 60,000 members at the three major supermarket chains have strongly criticized the grocers’ first comprehensive contract offer, calling it “unacceptable” and making its first veiled threat of a possible work stoppage.

Representatives of Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons have been in talks with the UFCW since early March, and union leaders say the chains have not made any meaningful offers on wages and benefits, the key issues.

Employer proposals include less than a 1 percent pay increase, inadequate funding for health benefits and a proposal to convert future cashiers to general merchandise clerks.

More talks are scheduled over the next two weeks and according to Local 324 president Greg Conger if the unions do not see progress, leaders will go to the members to discuss authorizing a strike.