retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Los Angeles Times reports that labor negotiations in Southern California seem to be hitting as critical juncture, as this weekend “an estimated 62,000 grocery workers in Southern California will vote - for the second time - on whether to give their union locals the go-ahead to strike.” The first time around, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the vote to authorize a strike was “overwhelming.”

At the same time, “this week, Albertsons and Vons began taking applications for people willing to cross a picket line and work during a strike.” Ralphs has not yet started recruiting strike workers.

According to the Times, “The second strike vote also will be a way for labor to gauge the current mood of its members, as California’s economy has deteriorated since the first strike vote was taken, said Burt P. Flickinger III, managing director of New York-based Strategic Resource Group. ‘It also comes as Target has converted virtually all of their stores in the area to carry groceries,’ Flickinger said. The strike vote this weekend ‘may not guarantee people are going to walk out, but the odds become highly likely that they will’.”
KC's View:
Hate to see this happen, because it is hard to see how it is a positive development for either management or labor. On the other hand, there are a number of competitors in Southern California - like, say, Fresh & Easy - that may be licking their proverbial chops at the possibility that they will get another chance with some customers to make a first impression.