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UFCW Members in Southern Calif. Ratify New Agreement with Food 4 Less

Food-4-Less-300x200Members from UFCW Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428, and 1442, have ratified a new three year agreement with the grocery chain Food 4 Less. The previous contract expired June 8 and workers were prepared to take a strike vote if necessary.

The agreement covers more than 6,000 grocery workers at 100 Food 4 Less stores. The new contract increases wages, protects pension plans, and maintains affordable healthcare.

Members reported that during negotiations, the company was pushing for changes that would undercut worker rights, including cutting the number of full-time jobs and cutting funding for healthcare expenses. Food 4 Less dropped its demands after seeing that employees were standing strong against any changes that could hurt workers.

Through social media, UFCW Local 135 President Mickey Kasparian credited the ratified contract to the “unwavering solidarity” of the membership, and thanked customers and the public for supporting Food 4 less workers during their contract campaign.

“Thanks to the support of consumers and our members’ resolve, we have reached a tentative contract deal that protects employees’ wages, hours, and health care. We would not have been able to accomplish this without the backing of the public and all our members,” said UFCW Local 770 President Rick Icaza.

Food 4 Less, owned by Kroger Co., was the last grocery chain in Southern California to reach a deal on a new contract. UFCW members have recently ratified contracts with all the major grocery operators in Southern California including Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons, Stater Brothers, Gelsons, and Super A.

UFCW Members Hold Actions in Support of El Super Workers

El-Super1-300x200On July 23, hundreds of UFCW members and their supporters joined workers from El Super stores throughout Southern California in a bus tour that brought protests to 37 of the chain’s stores in a single day. Protests were held in support of El Super workers as they continue to fight for a good contract. Workers have been without a contract since September 27, 2013.

The day of action began in the early morning hours and culminated in hundreds attending a rally at El Super’s regional headquarters in Paramount, Calif., a largely Latino community about ten miles east of Los Angeles.

Members from UFCW Locals 135, 324, 770, and 1167, participated in the day of action that was designed to keep the pressure on El Super management as negotiations appear to have stalled weeks after the stores union employees voted for strike authorization in June.

Wages, paid sick days, and respect on the job have topped the list of issues that union negotiators have pushed hard to advance for months but have run into “a brick wall of indifference on the part of El Super management,” according to UFCW Local 324 Secretary-Treasurer Andrea Zinder.

Despite the company’s apparent unwillingness to compromise, workers at the chain’s union stores have not backed down. They have continued a near constant drum beat of pressure aimed at store management that has included everything from rallies in store parking lots to petition drives. Seven of the company’s 44 U.S. stores are union as a result of the Mexico-based retailer’s purchase of Gigante’ in 2008.

Southern California Locals Unite To Support Food 4 Less Grocery Workers

Workers at Southern California Food 4 Less locations from UFCW Locals 1428, 770, 135, 1167, 324, 1442, and 8GS all came together in a strong show of solidarity last week for a fair contract.

Customers standing in support of Food 4 Less workers at Local 770's action.

Kroger, the parent company of Food 4 Less and Ralph’s, has been treating its Food 4 Less employees worse than those at Ralph’s, and when they went into negotiations with workers on June 19th, they offered nothing but takeaways.

Not willing to stand for unfair treatment, on June 26th a majority of members from the local unions voted overwhelmingly to strike should one become necessary. But after returning to the bargaining table on July 2nd, Kroger’s offer was no better.

So this week, on Wednesday July 9th, members and workers from each of the Food 4 Less locals came out in full force to hold actions at dozens of Food 4 Less stores across southern California. There, they asked customers and community members to stand with them in their fight for a fair contract, and were met with an outpouring  of positive feedback.

UFCW members collected signatures from customers pledging their support for the workers, passed out information, and proudly wore their solidarity buttons at the actions.

At one of the actions attended by members of Local 1428, workers from non-unionized retailers like Big Lots and Lowry’s came out to support the workers, and talked about how they wished they had union representation at their workplaces.

The locals will return to the bargaining table again within the next few weeks, strong and united.

An assistant manager at Big Lots signs a petition in support of Food 4 Less workers at the Local 1428 action.

A Food 4 Less worker wears her "Hard Work Fair Pay" button.

Passing out info about a fair contract to customers and community members.