- Workers at the Latino grocery chain strike in response to current violations of their rights under U.S. labor law.
- Grocery employees are joined by human rights legend Dolores Huerta at an El Super Store in Los Angeles.
- Today’s action comes one day after 19 members of Congress called on the Obama administration to uphold international labor standards at El Super.
Los Angeles, December 16—With signs held high and chants ringing across store parking lots, El Super workers at seven locations in Southern California went on strike over recent unfair labor practices (ULPs). The strikers, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), are protesting violations of their rights and U.S. labor law requiring the company to bargain in good faith. They were joined by labor and human rights legend Dolores Huerta at a rally in front of the grocer’s location on E. Gage Ave. in Los Angeles.
“The fight El Super workers are engaged in is the same fight that the farm workers have historically fought for: the right to belong to a union, the right to bargain in good faith, and the right to industry labor standards, which means wages that can sustain their families. I stand with El Super workers and their campaign to win respect in the workplace and dignity for their families,” said Huerta, longtime champion for labor rights and co-founder of the United Farm Workers union.
Yesterday’s strike, was launched to protest recent ULPs at the chain. El Super’s conduct is the subject of charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board within the past week, including surface bargaining, repudiation of terms El Super unilaterally implemented nearly a year and half ago as part of it’s “last, best, and final” contract offer, and unreasonable delay in providing information crucial to effective negotiations.
El Super union members have been working without a contract since September 2013. In the face of court action and an NLRB trial, the company returned to union negotiations in August of this year, after over a year and half absence. They came back, however, to engage in bad faith bargaining in violation of federal law.
Flora Castaneda, an El Super cashier on strike to get the company to meet its legal obligations, said, “Reaching a union contract with the company is much more than a legal document to me, my family and my coworkers. It is my hope that if the company bargains in good faith we can sign an agreement that would ultimately allow me a holiday season where I’m able to make dinner for my family and buy some little presents for my kids. I think if the Company bargains in good faith we can reach an agreement that will enable us to able to go to the doctor when we are sick, save for our children to go to college, and have enough money at the end of the month to afford food and rent. It means we will have protection from the company’s retaliation against union supporters.”
“El Super’s disregard of workers’ rights and of labor law is shameful,” said UFCW Local 770 President Ricardo Icaza. “We will continue to stand together against this company’s lawless stonewalling of the bargaining process, and be with the workers until El Super comes to the table to negotiate in good faith for a contract where workers have the wages, benefits, guaranteed hours and respect that they have earned.”
In addition to the recent charges filed with the NLRB that prompted this strike, the NLRB recently issued a complaint against the company for additional unfair labor practices.
The UFCW and allies have also filed simultaneous complaints under the NAFTA labor agreement and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines to stop El Super and its parent company Grupo Chedraui’s attack on workers’ rights in the United States and Mexico. On Monday, 19 members of Congress representing districts with El Super store locations called on the Obama administration to expedite investigations into the complaints’ allegations.
Sign Letter to El Super CEO: www.BoycottElSuper.org