What the Grocery Workers are Fighting For

Southern California’s grocery workers have continued to negotiate with Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons in order to reach an agreement that includes fair wages, a secure retirement and health care coverage.Grocery workers have been negotiating for six months and over 100 days past their contract expiration. But the markets continue to drag their feet. Why? Because every day grocery workers work without a new contract, the markets make millions of dollars.Stater Bros. and Gelsons. Markets offered grocery workers a fair deal months ago. And Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons could easily do the same, but they prefer to stall negotiations while they line their pockets even further.Here’s what grocery workers are asking for:

Today, 50% of Southern California’s grocery workers and 20,000 of their children don’t have health care coverage since Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons have long eligibility requirements.

Southern California’s grocery workers gave the employers a health care proposal that would shorten eligibility to six months for new hires, guarantee coverage for children within six months and cover 100% of basic preventative care such as physicals, mammograms and child immunizations.

This plan would cost Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons exactly ONE CENT MORE than they are already contributing, but they refuse to accept it because they want to contribute LESS to health care benefits than they do now.

What’s worse, they want to make up for their reduced funding by using the vast majority of the grocery workers’ health care trust fund reserves — a move that could bankrupt the entire fund by the end of the contract, forcing drastic cuts to benefits and dramatically increasing out of pocket costs. This has happened in six other states due to the under-funding proposed by the markets.

Grocery workers want to negotiate a fair contract, but cannot accept a proposal that would put health care benefits at serious risk.

Southern California’s grocery workers haven’t had a raise in five years. The CEO’s of Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons together made over $21 million in salary and bonuses last year alone, but they still refuse to give grocery workers a raise. And, the cost of living has increased over 12% since grocery workers had a raise in 2002.

What’s worse is that Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons would like to reduce wages even further for new workers so that they would only make minimum wage.

This is unacceptable.

Grocery workers are still waiting for a wage proposal from the employers that includes a wage increase.

What does all this mean?

Grocery workers have been working hard at the bargaining table for six months to try to work out a fair deal with Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons. But they continue to stall.

That is why Southern California’s grocery workers gave the employers a deadline of June 21st to offer a fair deal. Agreements on new contracts have already been reached with Stater Bros and Gelsons Markets that provide fair wage increases and health care. Why can’t these giant national corporations do the same? For what ever their reasons, these chains have chosen to not present a comprehensive proposal to the grocery workers. They will be voting this Sunday to reject the unacceptable offer from the grocery store chains and authorize a strike.

Please support grocery workers in their fight for a fair contract. Click here to sign their pledge expressing support for grocery workers in the event of a work stoppage. And if you have already done so, please click here to invite everyone you know to do the same!

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  2 comments for “What the Grocery Workers are Fighting For

  1. Flowerszzz
    June 22, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    I have said it before here and I will say it again….they are grocery clerks. They scan groceries, bag groceries and stock the shelves. It is an entry level job and they are already being paid far above an entry level salary. They lost public sympathy in their last strike….with how awful they were to their customers. It would be a big mistake for them to go on strike…I think they will lose more then they already have.

  2. Paul D
    June 24, 2007 at 7:33 am

    I’m in total agreement with Flowerezzz. I believe that they get a fair pay for the job they perform. I don’t have a problem crossing their picket lines. In fact, during the last strike, I saw several cases where the service in the stores was better!

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