From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
By Rhonda Smith
Aug. 5 — United Food and Commercial Workers members working at grocery stores owned by Kroger Co. and Cerberus Capital Management are scheduled Aug. 8-9 to vote on a proposed bargaining agreement for 48,000 workers at about 300 supermarkets in Central and Southern California.
“We're recommending this package—which we believe is a good package—to our membership,” Rick Icaza, president of the Los Angeles-based UFCW Local 770, told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 5.
Reaching a three-year tentative pact on a proposed contract helped avert a planned strike that UFCW-represented workers recently authorized after negotiations dragged on for five months.
Seven UFCW locals participated in the bargaining process. If ratified, the proposed pact would cover about 11,000 workers at Albertsons, 19,500 at Vons and 17,500 at Ralphs. The previous contract expired March 6.
Ralphs is a subsidiary of Kroger, while Albertsons and Vons are owned by Cerberus Capital Management.
Although details about the tentative agreement won't be released until after UFCW members vote on it, Icaza said: “We wouldn't be recommending the package if we felt the wages weren't adequate.”
Other areas of concern during the negotiations included employer contributions to the workers' pension and health and welfare benefits, said Icaza, who was one of the chief negotiators in the contract talks.
“We will continue to provide retail employees with pay that significantly exceeds the minimum wage, along with comprehensive health, welfare and pension benefits,” Albertsons and Vons said in an Aug. 5 statement.
The tentative agreement “acknowledges the important contributions of our front-line employees, our most valuable asset, and allows our company to remain competitive,” the grocers said.
Ralphs released its statement the same day. “We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with the unions that rewards our associates and allows all of us to continue to provide excellent shopping experiences for Ralphs customers,” it said.
The employees and their supporters held numerous community marches and rallies in various cities where Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons supermarkets are based.
The workers also gathered 15,000 signatures from the grocers' customers on a petition, signaling their support of the employees, Icaza said.
Officials from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service helped the parties reach tentative agreement.
“These were long and difficult bargaining sessions, and through the efforts of our FMCS mediators, the parties stayed at the table and made difficult choices that resulted in today’s agreement,” FMCS Director Allison Beck said in a statement released Aug. 4.
FMCS Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh and Commissioner Isael Hermosillo helped both parties “in resolving their differences,” Beck said.
Both parties would likely have been hit hard by a strike, analysts told Bloomberg BNA in July.
The union's strike fund might have been severely depleted, they said, and supermarkets could've permanently lost customers to their competition in an industry increasingly crowded with supercenters, warehouse club stores, limited assortment stores, online sellers, farmers' markets and ethnic food stores.
To contact the reporter on this story: Rhonda Smith in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)