Will You Cross the Picket Line? Union Workers from Ralphs, Vons, Pavilions, Albertsons Vote to Authorize Strike

Rebekah Sager
June 26, 2019 - 8:04 am

Grocery workers in Southern California with the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) have voted to authorize a strike against their grocery store employers.

 Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union were voting until 8 p.m. Tuesday night in a battle over pay and benefits. 

 Some union members, telling ABC in San Diego, they're financially pinched.

 If workers authorize a strike, their union has the authority to call them off the job and on to a picket line at moment's notice. 

One expert tells KNX it could permanently disrupt the grocery business.

Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) in Southern and Central California have been voting over the last few days on whether to authorize union leaders to call for a strike. 

Negotiations have stalled on a new contract with Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, and Ralphs, which impacts 46,000 unionized workers.

Food industry analyst Phil Lempert tells KNX, a strike would be just as devastating for the industry today as the last one was in 2003. 

The strike could work against the chains as food delivery services would come into play, easing shopping for customers who would not have to cross a picket line. 

The vote doesn’t necessarily mean a strike will happen but would allow the union to call a strike whenever it wants. 

The strike in 2003 and 2004 lasted more than 4 months and lost $1.5 billion in revenue. 

The most recent talks were June 10 and 11, and the sides are scheduled to meet again from July 10 to 12. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Shelby Report indicates that Albertsons is the largest player in the Southern California/Las Vegas region, with 19.8% of the market. Kroger, which includes Ralphs and Food 4 Less, is next at 18.6%.