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Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons Issue Statement on Grocery Worker Contract Negotiations

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Amid ongoing contract negotiations and the constant threat of a worker strike, officials representing Ralphs, Vons and Albertons issued a statement today addressing the state of their bargaining with the grocery workers' union. In it, they comment on the agreements reached so far at the negotiating table, which include retaining parts of the current pension plan. They then address the fact that the two groups have yet to settle on what to do about health care.

"On the tough issue of health care, we presented our initial proposal to the union 42 days ago," they write. "We are very disappointed with the response we finally received from the UFCW [worker's union] on Monday, which did nothing to address the rising cost of health care, even though we’ve been talking about that issue for months."

According to the statement, employees hired after March of 2004 pay $7 a week for a single person for health care, and $15 a week for a family. The companies initially proposed that single payers increase their contribution to $9 a week, and families go up to $76 a week.

Negotiations have been intensifying since early March, when the workers' contracts expired. The union voted to strike in April, and have retained that option ever since.