Seven United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union locals, which together represent more than 600 pharmacists and pharmacy workers at Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions stores across Southern California, have revealed that members voted overwhelmingly to authorize union leadership to call for strikes on the basis of unfair labor practices.
“Southern California’s essential pharmacists have made their voices heard with this vote,” the seven locals said in a statement. “They have made the difficult decision to stand together on the picket line should it become necessary in protest of the unlawful and unfair treatment they’ve received from Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions. This vote gives union leaders the authorization to call for a strike and lays the groundwork to allow more than 600 pharmacists across California to stand up to protect their rights and ensure they have the ability to effectively serve their patients and communities.”
Negotiations resumed July 22 with UFCW and Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions. No dates have been set yet for a strike.
The locals filed unfair labor practice charges against Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging violations of federal labor law and intimidation of workers engaged in union activity, among other charges.
UFCW locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442 make up the largest union grocery contract in the nation, including 600-plus pharmacists and pharmacy workers who serve communities at Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions pharmacies spanning from Central California to the Mexican border.
With almost 2,800 retail food stores under various banner names, including Ralphs, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates more than 2,200 retail stores with 1,700-plus pharmacies under 24 well-known banners, among them Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions. Albertsons is No. 9 on The PG 100.