The union representing some 47,000 Southern California grocery workers, including 800 in Long Beach, today reached a tentative contract agreement for members working at Albertsons, Pavilions, Ralphs and Vons stores, avoiding a strike.
“Once our members have had an opportunity to review and vote, we will release more information on this historic and transformational deal,” the unions said in a joint statement Monday evening. “Nothing is final until our members decide.”
Details of the tentative agreement were not released.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442 voted March 27 to authorize a strike after a week of negotiations failed to produce an agreement. The union has accused the Kroger and Albertsons brands of engaging in unfair labor practices, undermining negotiations.
Union and store representatives restarted negotiations March 30.
“We are pleased that this agreement allows us to put more money in our associates’ paychecks and secures healthcare and pension plans,” Robert Branton, vice president of operations at Ralphs, said in a statement.
Union officials were seeking a $5-per-hour raise phased in over three years along with improved safety standards and scheduling. The stores were offering $1.80 raises, also phased in over three years.
Union leaders had planned a demonstration outside a Santa Ana Vons on Monday with politicians and supporters to call on stores to bargain fairly. Local 324, which represents Long Beach workers, postponed the event hours before it was set to begin, saying the group had been at the bargaining table for more than 24 hours straight and wanted to maintain momentum.
“We are incredibly proud of our essential grocery members, whose hard work and determination to stand together and willingness to fight for what they deserve, has made this agreement possible,” the union stated.
Separate negotiations are also under way for Stater Bros. workers, also represented by the union, which claims the brand has also engaged in unfair labor and bargaining practices. Negotiations with Stater Bros., however, have not progressed as far as those with the Kroger and Albertsons brands.