The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor on Monday endorsed a potential strike by supermarket workers, which could include picket lines and boycotts.
Union members at Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons supermarkets in Southern California voted last week to authorize a strike against their employers after months of stalled contract negotiations.
The 46,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, including from the union’s Local 770 chapter which covers Los Angeles County, voted. Of all voters, 96 percent supported rejecting the chains’ most recent contract offer and authorized a potential strike.
That does not mean a strike will occur. Rather, it means that the union is empowered to call a strike whenever it deems one necessary. This pressures the grocery companies to compromise on a contract to avoid such a walkout.
“The outcome of the strike authorization vote does not change anything related to this process,” said Albertsons in a statement. “We remain committed to negotiating a contract that is fair to all parties, including our employees, and will continue to work to achieve that.”
Union laborers have been working without a contract since March. The old agreement, approved by workers in 2016, included annual raises and increased pay for cashiers and compromises on holiday pay and retirement age.
The grocery companies’ latest contract offer would cut health care benefits for floor workers and increase pay for cashiers by less than 1 percent on a three-year term. UFCW770 called the offer “disrespectful” and “unfair.”
The next negotiation sessions between the companies and the union are scheduled for July 10-12.
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