Southern California grocery union announces strike-authorization vote

Vons sign
Vons sign Thomas Hawk/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

The union representing thousands of Southern California grocery workers announced plans today to hold a strike-authorization vote. The union says there has been no progress in contract talks with management.

If workers authorize a strike, it does not necessarily mean a walkout would happen. Rick Icaza, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770, said the vote would merely give the union the power to call for a strike if negotiations break down.

The union's contract with the parent companies of Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons expired March 6. The contract has been extended on a day-to-day basis as negotiations continue, but it can be canceled by either side with 72-hours notice, according to the union.

"We are nearly six weeks past the expiration of our contract, and management has yet to offer any significant proposals regarding pay or health care," Icaza said. "In fact, there is still no comprehensive contract offer."

Representatives of the grocery chains could not be reached for immediate comment.

The strike-authorization vote is scheduled for Wednesday, with balloting occurring throughout the day. Ballots were mailed to the union's roughly 62,000 members today.

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