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El Super Grocery Workers and their Supporters Protest Recently Opened El Super Store in Pico Rivera

MEDIA 6– El Super operates 54 grocery stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, and is a subsidiary of Mexico retail giant Grupo Comercial Chedraui

Community members and El Super workers rallied outside the chain’s newly opened El Super store in Pico Rivera yesterday. El Super has been under consumer boycott since December 2014, and its unionized workers have struck the company twice in protest of unfair labor practices. Jobs at El Super are beneath grocery industry standards and the federal government has issued multiple complaints, and a temporary injunction, against the company for violating the rights of workers who speak out in favor of higher standards.

On January 22, a new El Super opened at 9320 Slauson Ave, Pico Rivera. This space was a Ralph’s store, before it closed last October.

This will be a non Union store where workers have fewer protections and no voice at work. Pico Rivera needs good, union jobs that uplift workers, their families and our community. We need grocery stores that preserve the quality job standards established at neighboring stores,” said Andrea Zinder, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) 324 Secretary Treasurer.

Ralph’s workers at this store had a good union contract that included guaranteed hours, family sustaining wages, adequate paid sick leave, and affordable family health care. The jobs at the Pico Rivera El Super are inferior in every way.

In 2014, Chedraui posted over $100 million (US) in profits, and El Super contributed more than a fifth of the company’s net revenues. Despite its success, unionized El Super workers at seven (7) California stores have been working without a fair union contract for over two years.

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More Than One Dozen El Super Grocery Workers and Supporters Arrested During Nonviolent Civil Disobedience and Candlelight Vigil

—Protestors Take Over Busy “Five Points” Intersection in East LA in Defiance of LAPD “Order to Disperse”—

MEDIA 5 MEDIA 4East Los Angeles, California— On Wednesday, November 18, more than five hundred El Super workers, labor, community and clergy leaders staged a nonviolent civil disobedience and candlelight vigil at the busy “Five Points” intersection near El Super’s East LA location.

Protestors took to the streets for the second time in less than a month to ratchet up the pressure on El Super grocery stores decision-makers on the eve of scheduled contract negotiations. More than a dozen protestors were arrested after forming a prayer circle in the center of Cesar E. Chavez Ave. after LAPD issued an order to disperse.El Super #17 cashier Flora Castaneda was among the protestors arrested. She said: “Change demands that people like me must stand up. I don’t want to get arrested, but if we don’t stand up for ourselves, everything will stay the same.” Castaneda, a single mother of three children, has worked at El Super for more than eleven years.

Castaneda is one of approximately 600 UFCW union members who work for the El Super chain. For over two years, she and her unionized co-workers have been seeking an agreement with El Super that ensures a 40-hour guarantee for full-time workers, adequate paid sick leave, seniority protections, fair wages, affordable health benefits, the right to organize without retaliation, and respect in the workplace.

Last July, El Super entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Government to resolve the National Labor Relations Board’s allegation that it violated workers’ federally protected labor rights. It agreed to return to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith with UFCW. MEDIA 6

However, since returning to the negotiations with UFCW on August 18, after more than a year of stalling, El Super hasn’t made a significant progress towards an acceptable deal. They have agreed to negotiate a total of five days, over four months. Indeed, El Super has even failed to meet its legal obligation to provide information necessary to bargaining.

Grupo Commercial Chedraui is Mexico’s third largest retailer. Chedraui operates over 200 markets in Mexico, and 52 El Super stores in the U.S. In 2014, it earned nine-figure profits. Yet, Chedraui’s largely immigrant workforce in the U.S. toils in jobs that undermine basic industry labor standards. MEDIA 3
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A multinational coalition filed complaints Nov. 12 with the federal government alleging Chedraui is violating the North American Free Trade Agreement and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development guidelines by engaging in alleged “workers’ rights abuses” in the U.S. and Mexico.

The NAFTA-related complaint against Chedraui Commercial Group was filed by the United Food and Commercial Workers in California, Frente Autentico del Trabajo, in Mexico, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, in California, and the Project on Organizing, Development, Education and Research, a Mexico and U.S.-based NGO focused in Latin America.

Maria Brenes, Executive Director of InnerCity Struggle, spoke during the rally preceding the nonviolent civil disobedience. “I am so proud to stand here in solidarity with El Super workers and my fellow leaders in this community as we protest El Super’s shamefully irresponsible approach to doing business in our communities” said Ms. Brenes.

Union Workers Call for Boycott of El Super

El-Super-Rally-3-300x200Union members, clergy and more than 100 community groups gathered for an Ash Wednesday rally in support of UFCW members who are fighting for a fair contract at El Super grocery stores in southern California. Six hundred UFCW members have been working without a contract since September, 2013. In response to the company’s steadfast refusal to provide their employees with a fair contract, union El Super workers have called for a consumer boycott of the grocery chain.

El Super is a 49-store grocery chain in the American Southwest, owned by Grupo Comercial Chedraui, Mexico’s third largest retailer. Seven stores in southern California currently are union, represented by UFCW Locals 324, 770, 1428 and 1167. The employees are working together to achieve adequate paid sick leave, seniority rights, guaranteed 40-hour work weeks for full-time employees and a fair wage in a new contract.

Unfortunately, rather than working cooperatively to meet their employees’ needs, El Super focused its efforts on persuading union members to vote out their union. The company held captive audience meetings conducted by El Super CEO Carlos A. Smith, pushing a decertification vote. The workers were not fooled. On December 12, 2014 they voted – by a more than 3-1 majority – in favor of their union.

After the recertification vote, the workers promptly asked the company to return to the bargaining table. El Super ignored, and then rejected that request. El Super’s actions, and its steadfast refusal to address the workers’ priorities, led to the call for a consumer boycott of all El Super markets on December 20, 2014.

The boycott will continue until El Super workers achieve their core goal of winning respect and a fair contract.

To show your support for a fair contract for El Super workers, please visit www.boycottelsuper.org.