Union Averts Strike in Tentative Deal with Major Grocery Chains

A union representing 47,000 SoCal grocery workers has reached a tentative deal with Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions after authorizing a strike last week

The union representing 47,000 Southern California grocery workers has reached a tentative deal with several major supermarket chains, averting a strike they authorized last week if no agreement was reached by an April 5 deadline.

The contract will be put to a vote next week by members of seven United Food and Commercial Workers locals representing employees at 540 stores.

The tentative three-year contract with Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions stores includes significant wage increases, guaranteed hours for part-time employees, stronger health benefits, improved store safety, and a secured pension, UFCW Local 770 announced Monday. Exact details of the agreement won’t be released until members ratify it.

“This is a great agreement that will help turn grocery store jobs around and make tangible improvements in our lives,” Rachel Fournier, a cashier at a Los Angeles Ralphs store and bargaining committee member, said in a statement, released by UFCW Local 770.

“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.”

Bargaining committee member and Grove Beach Vons pharmacy clerk Manny Estrada called the agreement “a big deal,” adding, “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.”

Robert Branton, vice president of operations at Ralphs, said in a statement, “We are pleased that this agreement allows us to put more money in our associates’ paychecks and secures healthcare and pension plans,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

A spokeswoman for Albertsons, which also owns Vons and Pavilions, also confirmed with The Times that a tentative agreement had been reached.

The union voted in favor of authorizing a strike last week after roughly two months of stalled negotiations with the grocery chains. A strike could have prompted walkouts at hundreds of stores from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.

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