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U.S. Grocery stores brace for another strike

May 26, 2007

VICTORVILLE  Many residents are being greeted at their local Albertsons store with a petition asking for support should the chains employees go on strike.

The United Food Commercial Workers union is launching its "Walk for Respect" campaign and store employees are blanketing neighborhoods around stores with pledge cards asking consumers not to shop at Ralphs, Vons or Albertsons stores in the case of a lockout or strike.

For the first time since the bitter four-and-a-half-month strike and lockout in 2003-04, grocery workers at Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons stores are locked in contract negotiations according to the United Food Commercial Workers union Web site.
Their contract expired March 5.

Negotiations that have been taking place since February are reportedly heated with store managers and union officials refusing to speak to the press.

"Grocery workers havent had a wage increase since 2002, yet the markets are making billions in profits," stated Chris Zazueta, a veteran employee of Ralphs. "New workers have to wait up to 18 months to even become eligible for benefits and 30 months to get health care for their kids."

According to the Web site, of the 44,000 workers hired since 2004, less than 3,800 have health care, and less than 80 have coverage for their children.

The union Web site stated the program will continue until the three chains agree to once again provide "decent wages and affordable health insurance to their employees."

  • ufcw [at] ufcw247 [dot] com