retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Los Angeles Times reports that Southern California’s three leading supermarket chains has come to an agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) that will extend their expiring contract for one month, until the end of March.

The contract negotiations have the potential of impacting about 62,000 grocery workers at Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons/Pavilions stores in Southern California, and come seven years after a strike/lockout in the same market that affected more than 800 stores for 141 days.

According to the story, “Labor and grocery officials declined to comment Friday on the specific issues being negotiated, saying only that the discussions included employee wages, healthcare benefits and pensions.”
KC's View:
Last week, I wrote that I could not imagine that after the events of seven years ago, either side would let it get to the point where another strike/lockout would take place. Which led one MNB user to write:

While no retailer would ever choose a strike or lockout over a satisfactorily negotiated union contract that takes care of staff and allows for a profitable business model, it has become more difficult to reach that goal today.

New non union food retail continues to expand without resistance from those that have the most at stake. When the compensation gap widens, and work restrictions in a union shop give non union stores a competitive advantage for selling like products, something has to give.

The companies that you've mentioned must remain profitable, or eventually union jobs will be lost to surviving non union stores. I don't think it's any more complex than that.

I agree, and I don't think it is that complicated.  My feeling is that everybody has to have skin in the game, and that unions miss the boat completely when they forget that putting stores at a disadvantage is not good for them long-term.  It seems that unions miss that boat a lot.

But I also think that chains need to share the wealth in good times if they want cooperation from unions in hard times.