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Albertsons, Ralphs, Pavilions And Other LA Grocery Workers May Go On Strike

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(Photo by Sarah Ackerman via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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Thousands of Southern California grocery store workers may soon vote on whether to authorize a strike.

The United Food and Commercial Workers will send out notices to members now that its contract with Albertsons, Ralphs and other supermarket chains expired on March 6. Union representatives hope to negotiate improvements in workers’ wages, scheduling and safety.

Kim Sisson, a cashier at Vons, said the pandemic highlighted the need for such adjustments.

"Enough's enough,” she said. “We deserve their respect. We deserve to have safety language in our contract. We have to have a say in our own safety. We deserve to get paid a livable wage so that we can afford at least the basics for ourselves and our family.”

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Sisson hopes that a strike authorization vote will prove that workers are not going to give up.

In a statement, executives at Ralphs said that company representatives had conducted “12 full bargaining sessions” with UFCW representatives. Robert Branton, Ralphs’ vice president of operations, said in the same statement that the company is “committed to reaching an agreement, no matter how long it takes.”

The company also said it hopes to “keep groceries affordable for our customers” and “maintain a sustainable business for the future.”

In a statement posted to its website, UFCW maintains that the company can afford higher wages, having netted billions in profits over the past year.

UFCW is keeping members posted on negotiation outcomes on Twitter.

More talks are in the works. UFCW has scheduled strike vote meetings for the week of March 21.