retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Los Angeles Times:

"Whipsawed by the pandemic, spurred by fury over wage stagnation and alarmed by inflation, Southern California’s unionized grocery workers gained their biggest pay raises in decades Thursday as they ratified a new contract with the region’s largest food chains.

"The three-year contract’s overwhelming approval, by 87%, followed strike authorization votes two weeks earlier by union locals representing 47,000 employees at 540 Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.

"After four months of bargaining, Kroger, the parent company of Ralphs, and Albertsons, which owns Pavilions and Vons, agreed to raises of 19% to 31% over current pay levels for most workers. Part-time employees, about 70% of the workforce, are guaranteed 28 hours weekly, up from 24."



•  The Houston Chronicle reports that "Kroger Houston Division announced that associates at 106 Kroger stores in the Houston area have ratified new labor agreements that settle nearly two years of negotiations over wages and benefits. The agreements represent a $65 million investment in wages and an annual contribution of about $75 million to ensure access to affordable, comprehensive health care coverage."



•  The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 342 announced that some 1,800 employees of FreshDirect - the online grocer acquired by Ahold Delhaize about 15 months ago - have "overwhelmingly" voted to unionize.

The workers, a group that included everything from butchers to order pickers, are employed at three FreshDirect locations, in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

•  The Washington Post reports that "workers at Apple’s flagship Grand Central Terminal retail location in Manhattan have begun to formally collect signatures to form a union, according to a newly updated website launched by the organizers, setting the stage for a showdown between the iPhone maker and the employees who sell them.

"The organizers, who have dubbed themselves 'Fruit Stand Workers United,' say they voted Feb. 21 to affiliate with Workers United, a national labor union that has supported the successful unionization efforts of Starbucks employees around the country."

The story goes on:  "If the organizers of Fruit Stand Workers United are successful in gathering enough votes to form a union, the Grand Central location would become the first of Apple’s retail stores to do so. That would add the Cupertino, Calif., company to a growing list of corporate behemoths, including Amazon, Starbucks and Activision-Blizzard, facing a wave of unionization efforts in a labor landscape that has fundamentally shifted in the wake of the global pandemic. At least three other Apple retail locations are in the process of forming a union, according to employees who who spoke on the condition of anonymity to keep their jobs."