—El Super sales negative for third straight quarter as boycott spreads to recently opened California El Super stores—
Pico Rivera, California—El Super workers have been fighting to win the company’s respect for more than two years. Yesterday, they honored the International Women’s Day tradition by protesting unfair treatment in front of the grocery chain’s newest store, in Pico Rivera.
“We want a fair contract that rewards us for the work that we do and will enable us to support our families and live better,” said Guadalupe Amador, who works at the El Super #13 bakery, in South Los Angeles. “We are fighting to win basic standards that other unionized grocery workers already enjoy.” The nonunion Pico Rivera El Super formerly operated as a unionized Ralph’s supermarket. Under El Super, workers earn less, pay more for health care, and receive half as many paid sick days as Ralph’s workers did.
Whittier College students distributed bread and roses to El Super workers during today’s event. “My fellow students and I delivered bread and roses as a token of our respect for these hardworking women – who are mothers, daughters, sisters, caretakers and family providers,” said Luz Castro, a Whittier College student.
Protestors educated Pico Rivera shoppers about the ongoing boycott of El Super stores – adding to the more than 200,000 shoppers who have agreed to honor December 2014 boycott call. Underscoring the boycott’s impact, El Super’s Mexico parent company recently reported its fourth quarter results for 2015, including negative same store sales of 0.9% in the U.S. segment – well below analyst expectations of positive 1% growth in the U.S. It was the third consecutive quarter in which U.S. same-store sales failed to grow.
“We are fighting for basic protections all workers deserve – including a 40-hour guarantee for full-time workers, fair wages, affordable health benefits, the right to organize without retaliation, and respect, “Flora Castaneda, an El Super cashier and a single mother of three, said. “El Super can easily afford these things, but they simply refuse to act responsibly.”
El Super has entered into settlement agreements to resolve allegations by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that it engaged in unfair labor practices. The company also made a commitment to the U.S. government to engage in good faith negotiations with El Super workers’ union – the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
“Unfortunately, since El Super returned to the bargaining table, progress has been very slow and they have just gone through the motions,” said UFCW Local 324 Secretary-Treasurer Andrea Zinder. “The company has made changes to proposals that have no substance. And they have even reneged on agreements it said were part of its “last, best and final offer” – which they implemented in spite of an overwhelming vote to reject it by our members.”
El Super union members struck the company two times during its 2015 fourth quarter to protest its unfair labor practices. And beginning March 14, the U.S. government will prosecute El Super again – this time, for its failure to give seniority information, including wage rates and part-time work.
About the Dispute
Southern California United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union locals 324, 770, 1428 and 1167 represent approximately 600 El Super workers employed at seven locations. These low-wage, predominantly Latino workers were covered under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with El Super that expired on September 27, 2013.
El Super is managed by the Paramount, CA based Bodega Latina Corp. There are 54 El Super locations in California (46 stores), Arizona (5 stores), and Nevada (3 stores). El Super is focused on serving Mexican first, second and third-generation consumers. Bodega Latina Corp is controlled by Mexico-based Grupo Comercial Chedraui (Chedraui). Chedraui operates 224 markets in Mexico. It is Mexico’s third largest retailer.