Kroger (Ralphs) has been posting record profits over the past several years and Cerberus, the private equity company that owns Safeway (Vons) and Albertsons is doing well too, so they can afford to negotiate in good faith, but grocery contract negotiations are moving slowly.
Collective bargaining is a chess game. We don’t want the other side to know our moves until we make them. This is one reason, when we go into grocery contract negotiations, I try to keep what’s happening as quiet as possible.
Another reason is because what is on the table today, may be off tomorrow and then back on again in the future.
This is your union and I am here to represent you to the best of my ability. Every day of negotiations is different, but I know you all want answers, so here’s what I can tell you right now:
All of the Southern California UFCW Locals remain focused on our key components: pension, health and welfare, wages, and working conditions.
All of the Southern California UFCW Locals are continuing to meet with Albertsons/Vons and Ralphs. We have discussed a number of proposals and our respective consultants are in attendance to help the parties determine the dollar amounts needed to maintain the pension and health care plans.
The Federal Mediator who helped us with negotiations in 2007, 2011 and 2014 is back and is in attendance for current and all future sessions.
We have made progress by signing an extension agreement with Stater Bros. and Gelsons as Health & Welfare and Pension plans are contingent on the outcome of negotiations with the larger employer groups. And now Stater Bros negotiations have started too.
Pharmacy negotiations with the major grocers are ongoing. We are in the process of updating our Professional Division website with current information, and will continue to do so as more information becomes available. You can find this information at: http://ufcwrx.businesscatalyst.com/index.html.
We will continue to keep you updated as negotiations progress. Stay strong and united. We can only win fair wages, fair scheduling and maintain our benefits by being strong and standing together.
Please don’t spread rumors. If you hear something or have a question, call your union representative and ask them directly.
We are committed to collectively bargain for pay increases and to keep your benefits that include one of the best health care and pension packages in the country. Plus, we are working on better working conditions as well.
And, just to let you know, while we’re negotiating these grocery contracts, we are also negotiating LabCorp’s first contract. Their working conditions are deplorable, workers are under paid and under staffed. Let’s get behind the LabCorp workers too. Please have your blood drawn elsewhere.
The UFCW Local 135 is the strongest union in San Diego and Imperial Counties. Let’s stick together in solidarity and be prepared to fight during these negotiations. If we do, we will win.
Check ufcw135.org for contract negotiation updates or talk to your shop steward or Union Representative for more information and how to become involved.