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UFCW Workers Reach Tentative Agreement to Avert Grocery Strike

Southern California union workers voted to approve Albertsons Co. and Kroger strike on March 28
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Teamsters Vote to Sanction Potential Calif. Grocery Workers’ Strike
Retailers and union employees in Southern California have reached a tentative agreement that must now be voted on and approved by workers.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) labor union in Southern California has reached a tentative agreement with Albertsons Cos. banners Vons, Pavilions and Albertsons, and Kroger-owned Ralphs that will put an end to a potential strike, according to a statement from the participating unions. 

The member-led bargaining committee representing seven UFCW local unions struck a deal that includes wage increases, guaranteed hours for part-time employees, a secured pension and better health benefits. Members of each local union will now review the agreement and take a vote, and more contract details are expected once it is fully approved. 

“This is a great agreement that will help turn grocery store jobs around and make tangible improvements in our lives,” said Rachel Fournier, a cashier at a Los Angeles Ralphs store and bargaining committee member. “We could not have achieved this deal without the support of the community and the energy and engagement of all our members who were determined to have their hard work and essential labor valued.” 

The unions said 95% of members who voted approved a work stoppage late last month. They emphasized workers’ resilience in the face of the pandemic and sought higher wages, along with better access to full-time status and more in-store health and safety committees. 

“This tentative agreement is a big deal and we are all excited,” said Manny Estrada, a pharmacy clerk at Vons and bargaining committee member. “Grocery store workers have served our customers throughout the most difficult moments of our lifetime. We’ve kept the stores open and have contributed to the companies’ success. This is a well deserved contract that we look forward to ratifying soon.” 

Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Idaho-based Albertsons operates more than 2,200 retail stores with 1,700-plus pharmacies, 400 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities. It operates stores across 34 states and the District of Columbia under more than 20 well-known banners, among them Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Carrs, Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lovers Market. Albertsons is No. 8 on The PG 100.

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