Grocery Worker Walkout Averted, Stores Reach Tentative Deal

The agreement was reached after what the union called a seven-day marathon negotiating session with officials from Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons.

The inside of a Sherman Oaks grocery store. Patch file photo.
The inside of a Sherman Oaks grocery store. Patch file photo.

Southland grocers and the union representing more than 60,000 grocery workers announced today they had reached a tentative labor agreement.

Details of the pact were not released pending ratification by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union. The ratification was expected to be completed by the end of the month, according to the union.

The tentative deal was reached after what union officials called a seven-day marathon negotiating session with officials from Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons.

A federal mediator joined in the negotiations May 5.

Officials with the various grocery companies issued identical statements announcing they had "reached a tentative agreement with the seven Southern California UFCW locals for a new collective bargaining agreement. The terms of the new agreement are being withheld pending ratification of the agreement by our employees represented by the UFCW."

As for the union, it said the contracts had been reached "after a final marathon session of seven consecutive days and nights of back-to-back bargaining meetings between representatives of the UFCW locals and the corporations that own Ralph's, Albertsons and Vons, and with the assistance of Federal Mediators

The contract had expired on March 2, but a contract extension was reached on April 10 that secured members' wages and benefits through May 11. Workers were on a day-by-day contract extension since then, with wages and benefits uninterrupted, the union said.

If ratified by the workers, the deal will help avert a repeat of the crippling work stoppage that lasted 141 days in 2003-04. During the lockout, the stores hired temporary workers, and some of the chains were fined for rehiring regular employees under aliases.

The replacement workers all lost their jobs when a new contract was signed, and the lockout cost the stores an estimated $1.5 billion.

--City News Service

Mike T May 22, 2014 at 04:59 PM
Based on the fact that the union and it's rank and file are saying nothing, one would have to believe they got their heads handed to them at the negotiating table.
phil May 23, 2014 at 09:59 AM
KAB. I worked at one as well as a youngster......and never thought of it as a lifelong career. The article listed 'ralphs, Albertsons and vons'.....thanks for pointing out that these are not mom and pop stores.
Daniel Brin May 23, 2014 at 10:09 AM
Mike T, that's not true. Both sides agreed to refrain from speaking about the negotiations or the agreement before it's presented to the members next week. They agreed to this from the moment they sat down at the bargaining table.
Mike T May 23, 2014 at 01:11 PM
@Daniel, those type of agreements are never honored. They are lip service.
DM May 24, 2014 at 07:59 PM
I wont forget the 2004 strike when union thugs attacked shoppers at the Pavilions in Seal Beach and followed replacement workers(mostly college students) home and terrorized them. For the first time in my life I saw the face of fascism!


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