Grocery workers free to strike

September 18, 2011

In a bid to speed up negotiations that have dragged on for more than eight months, officials from the United Food and Commercial Workers gave a 72-hour notice on Thursday to cancel their labor contract extension with the region’s three leading grocery chains — a mandatory final step before a walkout. [LATimes]

Without a contract, grocery workers can strike at any time, but the cancellation does not guarantee workers will strike today.

Health care costs, worker scheduling and future staffing levels have been the primary obstacles  to a new contract.

Officials with Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons have been laying plans in the event of a grocery store strike – Ralphs will close, Albertsons may close and Vons plans to stay open, the Los Angeles Times said.

“If there is a strike, Ralphs will initially close all of our stores,” store officials announced in a statement. “During a strike, it is difficult to create a good shopping experience for our customers and a good working environment for our employees.”

Albertsons said in a statement: “We are disappointed that union leadership decided to take this step. We are still in active negotiations…. We don’t want a strike, and we hope to continue bargaining rather than continue to alarm our associates and our customers.”

During a previous strike in 2003, both sides held their ground during a four month standoff that cost the stores more than $2 billion and gave competitors an opportunity to step into the gap, the Los Angeles Times said.

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I have a friend who is a manager at Albertsons, she that there won’t be a strike, that they’ve negotiated a deal.

I have already noticed the price increases in groceries of late. I don’t know if it is because our fiat currency is inflating or bean-counters are realizing a possible potential here. Maybe both?

It is getting expensive to just live, and many of us have much less to live on now than in years past.

This is something else that we can agree on. Groceries have gone up in a fast pace. IMO it might be due to the cost of oil. It’s costing more to produce and transport food.

Stupid time for poker

Neither the corporation or the employees want to strike

Strike and win

More inflation during a protracted recession

Strike and lose

More home foreclosures, reposessions, unempoyment-welfare

The store and employees should agree to band the union in place of a new one.

A strike is not a “win win” for anyone; the stores that are the target of the strike lose out, the stores that lockout their employees lose out, the workers who are now not working lose out, the stores that gain business don’t always keep that increase in business so there is a flux that they have to deal with that is very uncertain, the employees working at the non-striking/non-lockout stores suddenly have more hours than they most likely really want to work meaning that they most likely won’t be able to take requested time off for appointments or vacations, and the shoppers lose out because they now have to find a different way of buying their groceries. I fully support the “right” for the workers to strike and the use of a strike vote is a useful tool for negotiating with the management, but in this time of open hostility towards anything and all things union, it is not going to work very well if at all if there is a strike. The threat of the strike should have given the employers the impetus to negotiate in good faith and do all they can to avoid the strike, but the counter-threat of closing all of the Ralph’s Stores should give those in the union who decide these things something to really consider whether or not to actually call the strike. Good luck to all.

During the last big strike I spoke with John Spencer and it is a win win for him. When does any business person not want more business? During the last strike the employees at Spencer’s liked it as well, they were getting more hours and many were getting overtime. Spencer’s also gained some new customers that stayed with him. He knows the added business is only temporary, he’d be pretty stupid not to understand that. I did say in my previous post that I hated to see the striking employees not working. I know a couple of people that work at Albertsons, during the last strike I took hot chocolate and cookies to the strikers when it was cold and raining. Of course I don’t want to see my friends or even those that I don’t know hurting because of this strike.

I cant recall anybody coming out ahead of the game last go round years back expect the Union BA’s. Matter of fact I cant count the number of long time employees who got screwed and had to find new jobs after being knocked back to lesser positions forcing them to find a better paying job to pay the bills. Those who left were replaced with low buck employees with little or no bene’s. Hats off to you all for standing your ground but times are a changin and I think some may be in for for a rude awakening compliments big business and their bean counters.

Enough is enough, just what little compensation is it that they are holding out for. I am sick and tired of the semi annual supermarket strikes.

Shut the stores till it’s over and let all the whiners go if they won’t go back to work… They should be more than happy that they even have a job…

Wow, if they close this will be a win win for Spencer’s. I hate to see all those employees out of work but I do like that local stores will profit from this.

I already do the bulk of my grocery shopping at Spencer’s. Most of their stuff is priced on par or even below “the big three” – especially meats and produce. Occasionally I will go to Vons since I live very close to one, and am shocked how expensive and not as good their quality is compared to Spencer’s. Sometimes they are one in the same, but the employees at Spencer’s (the older crew, not the young fill-ins) are much nicer to deal with and speak with.

Scholari’s is also nice, but it’s often priced higher (but decent quality). The only reason to hit the big three (Ralph’s especially, here in SLO) is for variety. The smaller markets just cannot stock the widest selection, sometimes. I will even hit Vallarta’s down in Santa Maria when I need a special item.

I do the majority of my shopping at Costco but I do go to Spencer’s probably once a week. But Albertsons has a few things that the others don’t have so I go there about twice a month. I like John Spencer, he’s a good man and he sells quality food. John does a lot for the community and my kids go to school with his kid so I will go out of my way to shop there. It’s just with a big family bulk shopping especially during this economy makes sense for my family.

I don’t like Scholaris but due to it’s location I do pop in there quite a bit.

Quite honestly, I have a hard time feeling sorry for out-of-work strikers. It is their decision to strike. If not a direct decision, then, without question, an indirect decision. I did not feel sorry when they get health plans paid for or contributed to by their employers. I did not feel sorry when they got their last pay increases etc. You get the point.

It is beyond me that anyone can not see the obvious – that the union is the only winner here and they are firstly, and lastly, out for themselves only.