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Latest News - September 2011

September 24, 2011
Southern California Grocery Workers Ratify Collective Bargaining Agreement
Source: Business Wire
By: UFCW Press Release

Grocery workers from seven UFCW local unions voted on Friday and Saturday to ratify a contract that took nearly eight months to negotiate and had Californians from Mammoth to the Mexican border preparing for what appeared to be an imminent strike.

As recommended by the Union leadership, the members voted to approve an agreement that was reached on Sept. 19 with negotiators from Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons and UFCW Locals 8, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442.

This is a pooled vote of all the local unions in Southern California. In keeping with the union’s longstanding policy, the actual numbers are not being released.

The widespread impact of the averted crisis was evident in the faces of those who voted throughout Southern California. Business leaders, clergy, community activists and politicians ultimately played a role in the grocery workers’ struggle to preserve affordable health care as the campaign reached into local neighborhoods for public support.

Many saw the impending fight as part of an ongoing struggle to preserve middleclass values, predicting that the outcome would affect workers in many industries well into the future. Despite an awareness of the battle’s historical significance, the grocery workers in Southern California were anxious to see how the final agreement would impact them directly.

“There was a sense of relief when people had an opportunity to really look over the new contract and see what was in it,” said food clerk Mario Frias, a 22-year Ralphs employee.

“This package protects our members’ access to affordable comprehensive health care for themselves and their families,” union leaders said. “That was our top priority throughout the negotiating process.

“We owe our success to our members, who stood united and strong, and to all of our loyal customers who pledged their support for the workers.”

The new contract affects approximately 62,000 workers in a region that spans between Kern, Inyo and Mono Counties in the north, the Mexican border in the south and the Arizona border in the east. Its term will extend from March 7, 2011, to March 2, 2014.



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