Grocery workers cancel contract, strike looms
Frustrated at supermarket corporation stonewalling, workers take next step towards strike
“We returned to the bargaining table ready to compromise and make a deal that keeps our employers profitable but protects the jobs of our members,” said union leaders. “Instead, we got more of the same stonewalling from management. They are unwilling to compromise and are more concerned about hoarding their billions in profits than reaching a fair deal for their employees. We don’t want to strike, but if they won’t negotiate, we have no choice.”
The negotiations, now in their eighth month, have dragged on as management refuses to pay their fair share of health care contributions. Current health care proposals would bankrupt health plans and eliminate entirely health care access for 62,000 grocery workers across Southern California.
“I work hard for my company,” said Kelly Pierce. “They are making money hand over fist. We just want them to share a little of those billions with us so we can pay our rent and take our kids to the doctor. It isn’t asking so much, there is enough for everyone. Why are they being so greedy?”
“We’re ready to stand up for our jobs, and strike if we have to,” said Victoria Frantz. “This isn’t just about grocery workers anymore. This is about sending a message to profitable corporations everywhere that if your employees work hard, they deserve a fair wage and benefits.”
Grocery workers will begin final strike preparations following the 72-hour notice to cancel the contract, massing at local union headquarters to assemble signs, stockpile food for strikers and their families, and continue picket trainings.
“We’re ready to fight to preserve good jobs,” union leaders said. “We understand this is a tough economy, but we’re willing to stand up for workers everywhere being taken advantage of by profitable corporations. It is unfair and wrong for these corporations doing so well to use the economy as an excuse to squeeze those working paycheck to paycheck.”
Canceling the contract does not mean grocery workers will walk out in 72 hours, but it removes the final barrier to a strike. After the contract is no longer in effect, a strike can be called at any time.
Presidents of the Seven UFCW Local Unions in Southern California:
UFCW 8-Golden State (Northern & Central Calif., plus Kern, Inyo & Mono Counties)
UFCW Local 135 (San Diego and Imperial Counties)
UFCW Local 324 (Orange County and Long Beach area)
UFCW Local 770 (San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles Counties)
UFCW Local 1167 (Inland Empire, including San Bernardino and Riverside Counties)
Connie M. Leyva
UFCW Local 1428 (Pomona and Claremont area)
UFCW Local 1442 (Santa Monica, Westwood, El Segundo and South Bay)