March 8, 2022 — United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428, and 1442, together representing 60,000 of frontline food workers, including grocery clerks, meat cutters, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians, are continuing negotiations with Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions and scheduling strike authorization votes after the contract expired on March 6, 2022.
Negotiations ended Sunday after a 6-day bargaining session, which included heartfelt testimony from members of the union bargaining committee who work at Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions. Members shared stories of heartache and frustration working on the front line during one of the world’s worst health crises. Tens of thousands of petition signatures were also delivered to company negotiators asking for a fair contract that reflects their value and contribution to the company.
Compared to both companies’ pandemic profits, their current wage falls shockingly low and well below workers’ cost-of-living needs and the sacrifices made over the past two years helping their employers remain successful and highly profitable. Both companies have refused to agree to expand safety committees in the stores and have yet to negotiate meaningful health and welfare benefits.
All seven UFCW Locals have filed unfair labor practice charges against both Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions and Ralphs for undermining negotiations and workers’ right to representation, refusing to provide requested information necessary to bargain over health and safety protections, conducting unlawful surveillance of workers, and trying to prevent those employees from getting their message out to the public.
“We are shocked at Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, failure to negotiate a fair contract that reflects the value and sacrifices our members have made, despite profiting immensely from that very sacrifice,” said the leadership and bargaining committee from the UFCW locals.
“We know our members have earned and deserve fair wages; improved safety and security; better staffing to better service customers; and stable and predictable scheduling to help take care of their families, and we are fully committed to pushing these companies towards a contract that reflects and respects our members’ hard work.”
Because of these unfair labor practices, all seven Locals will be holding strike authorization votes against Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions.
All seven UFCW Locals will meet with Ralphs, Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions to discuss their joint pharmacist contract next week, however, no new bargaining dates have been set for the grocery worker contract.
Despite grocery companies like Kroger (Ralphs parent company) doubling its profits during the pandemic to as much as $4 billion, stores remain understaffed, essential workers underpaid, especially given the health risks they face every day, and store safety is still a major concern for both workers and customers. The goal of UFCW Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428, and 1442’s coordinated negotiation is to secure a contract with Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions that provides:
- Fair wages for essential workers
- Improved safety and security
- Better staffing for better service
- Stable and predictable scheduling
Seven UFCW Locals: 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428, and 1442 make up the largest union grocery contract in the nation, representing over 60,000 hard-working UFCW members who work wall-to-wall at Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, Stater Bros., and Gelson’s. The members represented under this contract, which expired on March 6th, work in essential grocery stores spanning from central California to the Mexican border.