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Executive Assistant’s Report

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RICHARD BARRERA
Executive Assistant

Income Inequality: How to Fix it

Income inequality. If you’ve been paying attention to politics, you’ve heard the term. That’s one of the main topics presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders talks about.
You may even be volunteering for one of the candidates for the general election coming up in November. It’s time now that we need your strength here, fighting with us.

Three months after the grocery contract expiration, the companies finally presented their economic position on June 2, rejecting all of the Union’s proposals. This position disregards the needs of our members, ignores the growing cost of living in Southern California and does not give employees any credit for the Companies’ record profits.

Last month we took a strike vote and we’ve been tabling and hand billing in front of Albertson’s, Vons and Ralphs.

They are asking us for too many concessions while their profits are at an all-time high. They want to give little-to-no raises, cut our pensions, and make cuts to our health care.
The Companies’ wage offer is insulting and their benefit proposal would drastically increase employee health care costs and decimate our pension plan.

It won’t hurt them to give a little more to the people who make them their profits. They couldn’t make such huge profits without the workers.

In fact, a growing consensus says that higher payrolls do not hurt profits. Every $1 invested in payroll results in $4 to $28 in sales for the company.

But they continue to cut labor costs because they are the largest controllable operating cost for food retailers for their short-term profit targets.

The top six people at Albertsons earned more than $200 million. The CEO’s salary is $115 million over the last three years – much larger than the proposal we put forth for our members for all of Southern California. Their financial performance and sales are improving.

Kroger (Ralphs), is one of the best-performing food retailers in the country for 49 straight quarters. They continue to add new jobs, all the while returning cash to shareholders rather than giving their employees raises. Kroger’s CEO’s compensation was $12 million in 2015.

We are working to convince the employers that labor investments are positively associated with profitability.

Workers need a raise and their benefits intact. This will not hurt the profits of Ralphs, Vons or Albertsons. In fact, it will help them with their bottom line.

So talk to your friends, your family, people you see at church and in the community and let them know that income inequality has hit us all. Ask them to stand with us until we get a fair contract.
We must make sure our members’ health care and retirement are protected and that all of our members have the ability to make ends meet.