Thousands of grocery workers in Central and Southern California voted to call for a strike as contract negotiations resume this week.
About 47,000 workers at hundreds of Ralph’s, Albertson’s, Vence and Pavilion’s stores began voting last week and the results were announced on Sunday.
The potential strike will involve supermarket clerks, meat cutters and pharmacy technicians represented by seven local residents from the International Food and Trade Union Federation.
So far, no date has been set for the strike. The union said talks would resume on Wednesday and would then decide what steps it would take.
Negotiations with Kroger-owned Ralphs and Albertsons, which owns Albertsons and Vons and Pavilions stores, ended without an agreement before the last three contracts expired on March 6.
The union says the companies are proposing a “shockingly low” 60 per cent wage increase. Employees are asking for a $5 an hour raise, among other proposals.
The union said the essential role supermarket workers played during the coronavirus pandemic was emphasized during the last day of negotiations.
The union has not yet reached agreements with other supermarket chains, including Gelson’s and Stater Bros. Markets and Super A.
On Sunday, supermarket chains did not comment on the approval of the strike.
In 2003, about 70,000 supermarket workers in Southern California staged a sit-in for more than four months.
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