retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Unionized employees of Southern California’s three biggest supermarket chains have voted overwhelmingly “to reject a health care proposal from major supermarket chains and authorize their union leaders to call a strike,” according to a story from the Associated Press. “More than 90 percent of voters from the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770, which has about 62,000 members, rejected the proposal from Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons stores.”

The vote means that union officials are empowered to call a strike after 72 hours. The union said it plans to bring the results today to the federal mediator working with the two sides.

The Los Angeles Times reports that “since the latest contract governing wages, healthcare benefits, and workplace rules expired in March. union and management negotiators have met more than 53 times. Healthcare benefits are a major area of contention.

“Both sides said they would like to avoid a repeat of a four-and-a-half-month strike and lockout in 2003.”
KC's View:
Man, it doesn’t look good. I can’t imagine in this environment that a strike or lock out would be good for either side, but it certainly seems like that’s where we’re heading. (Though anyone running stores not called Vons, Ralphs or Albertsons may actually see this as a real opportunity to build a little market share.)