Grocery workers continue to rally as contracts continue to be insulting

Julian Lucas | Pomona Voice

Union workers are rallying at major grocery stores throughout southern California to avoid a labor strike. On July 3, 2019, members have authorized a strike action due to the companies proposal of a 1% increase in wages over the next 3 years, which is far below what is needed to survive. UFCW has been in new contract negotiations since March 2019 with Albertsons, Ralphs, Vons, and Pavillions.

“The cost of living in California is rising too fast. Rent, gas, and food. To offer a 1% increase is insulting, members deserve better,” said union representative, Jason Chung of UFCW Local 1428. “The rally represents all employees full and part time. All six locals throughout southern California which include San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Central Valley, and Orange County”. UFCW asked the Los Angeles Federation of Labor for support, which formed a coalition of assistance by brother and sister unions such as Teamsters 1932, SEIU, CSEA and other affiliates of AFL-CIO. Union Representative Chung said, “800,000 members strong voted to sanction strike actions. Many of the members are only given 24 hours a week or less if the member is a courtesy clerk. Unions are asking for more guaranteed minimum hours”. Jacqueline Elizalde a previous member of UFCW Local 770, and now a Shop Steward for Teamsters Local 1932 stated, "At this point in time we must all come together as union brothers and sisters. We are much stronger as one and depending on which way the winds blow, if one union is hit, it causes a precedent to all unions. Union representative, Chung further added, “Members are working 2-3 jobs to survive, which is the new normal and it is unacceptable, we believe one job should be enough. All we are asking for is members to be able to maintain their pension, health plan, and a descent wage increase. With only a 1% increase members will fall behind.