Grocery workers picketing outside a Ralphs store in Los Angeles earlier this year. Credit: UFCW Local 770
Unionized Southern California grocery workers have come to a tentative agreement of their labor dispute with Ralphs, Vons, Pavilions and Albertsons, likely averting a strike that was earlier this year authorized by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) members.
The details of the agreement, which was hammered out after more than 40 bargaining sessions, won’t be released until union members are able to review and vote to approve or reject the agreement. Negotiators have recommended that union members vote in favor of the agreement
“We believe this agreement is a step forward towards our vision of what grocery jobs should be in the future,” said John Grant, president of Los Angeles-based UFCW Local 770, one of seven locals representing about 46,000 grocery workers in the region. “Consumers and community leaders stood with us to show our value and the impact we have in our stores and communities. We have many to thank for their support.”
“We are pleased to have worked with the union to secure increased wages, continued premium health care coverage and pension stability,” John Votava, a spokesman for Compton, Calif.-based Ralphs, a banner of Cincinnati-based Kroger, told the Long Beach, Calif., Press-Telegram via email. “Our associates are the heart of our company and this agreement is a reflection of their contributions.” According to Votava, the agreement includes pay increases and a continuation of benefits. Ralphs employs about 18,000 associates at 190 stores in the region.
Albertsons and its Vons and Pavilions banners, which together operate 342 stores, employ about 29,000 unionized employees in Southern California. The company hasn't commented on the tentative agreement.
Union members began voting Monday, Sept. 9, with results to be revealed on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 12.
In July of this year, Albertsons’ Safeway and Vons banners in Northern and Central California came to an “excellent” agreement with workers covered by UFCW 8-Golden State.
Kroger operates nearly 2,800 retail food stores under various banner names, including Ralphs, employing nearly half a million associates, and is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States. Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos., which operates stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 20 banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs, as well as meal-kit company Plated, is No. 3 on PG’s Super 50 list.