Supermarket Strike Averted as Grocery Workers Standing Strong With Community Support Win Tentative Pact
A possible Southern California grocery workers strike has been averted. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) has reached a tentative agreement with Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons. The deal, which must be approved by the union’s membership, protects workers’ healthcare benefits. Union members are expected to vote on the proposal next weekend.
In a statement by the UFCW, the union said that the “agreement must still be approved by union members before it can go into effect.” But the Union and the supermarkets are happy that a possible strike has been averted.
“We have reached a tentative agreement at the bargaining table, and will present it to our members for approval later this week,” said Rick Icaza, president of the grocery workers union Local 770. “We would like to thank the federal mediator, Scot Beckenbaugh, as well as all our customers for their patience and support through this difficult process.”
Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary–Treasurer of the LA County Federation of Labor confirmed the tentative agreement. “This could not have happened, first and foremost, without the willingness of rank and file grocery workers to go on strike” she stated. “It also could not have happened with the hundreds of delegations and actions done by local unions, community allies, clergy and elected officials.”
Just last night with a 7:10 pm strike deadline having passed grocery worker supporters showed up for a candlelight vigil to show community backing for the workers in front of a Pavillions market in Beverly Hills.
Talks between the grocery workers union and three supermarket chains, Ralphs, Vons (owner of Pavillions) and Albertsons continued late Sunday night, thus the actual walk out of workers, who were ready to strike at 12:01 am, was put on hold pending the outcome of the last minute negotiations talks.
Those talks appear to have succeeded in heading off a strike by 62,000 UCFW members.
Last Thursday night, unions issued a 72-hour strike notice, giving them the ability to walk out from hundreds of markets In Los Angeles, Orange and other Southern California Counties.
Union members have been working without a contract for the past 6 months, while negotiators have been attempting to reach an agreement on a new contract.
Speakers at the candlelight vigil included Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Executive Secretary–Treasurer María Elena Durazo, LA City Council Member Paul Koretz, LA City Controller Wendy Greuel and California Assembly Members Felipe Fuentes and Bob Blumenfield. California Assembly Member Mike Feuer also attended the event.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324 president Fred Conger said, “Thanks to the unity of our members and the hard work of our negotiating team, we were successful in bargaining an agreement that grocery workers can be proud of.”