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Southern California Grocery Workers Vote On Contract Offer

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Aired 8/19/11

Union leaders should know soon whether they have the authorization to strike at the region's three largest grocery store chains. San Diego workers cast ballots Friday.

— The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 135 is asking members to reject the latest contract offer from negotiators representing Vons, Ralph's and Albertsons. Union leaders say the health care proposal in that offer isn't good enough. Union members are coming to grip with the idea that there may be a strike.

Grocery Workers Strike in 2004
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Above: Grocery Workers Strike in 2004

"I don't think anyone is really ever ready to hear the word strike," said grocery clerk Camilla Fulton. "Especially in these difficult economic times. But I'm really hopeful that the employer will come up with a comprehensive plan that will insure that I can keep holding on to my benefits for my children."

Union leaders said the latest contract offer doesn't fully fund the health care benefits in the proposal. They told members the money for health care coverage would run out 18 months into the contract. That was not the news Debbie Williams wanted to hear.

"I've been with the company 30 plus years, I'm still part time. The majority of us are part time," said Williams. "When we were hired we were promised our benefits and they keep stripping them away, stripping them away. If I have to spend more for health care, it's a wage cut."

Votes will be cast all day today in San Diego and Los Angeles. Some Los Angeles and Riverside workers will vote Saturday. Results should be made public this weekend. Both sides have agreed to meet for one more bargaining session after the vote.

Comments

Avatar for user 'europa70'

europa70 | August 21, 2011 at 9:41 p.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

people..people.. here we go again...criticizing , judging...in this tough economic times we wont have a clue of the striking workers on the picket lines until we walk in their shoes... im sure no one wants to go on strike when they have families to support, but we must remember before judging that it will be a majority vote not every individual opinion that will be a deciding factor for them. instead of judging, why not PRAY for people during difficult times??? we should not concern ourselves weather they are " unskilled" or they deserve what they have coming...some of the comments here are shameful.....what kind of society are we becoming when we are putting other people down??? PRAY FOR THEM...i will ..good luck guys, i wish you the best!!!!!

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