On August 4, six California-based UFCW locals (135, 770, 1167, 324, 1428, and 1442) reached a tentative agreement with grocery stores Ralphs and Albertsons. Members will vote whether or not to ratify the agreement this Monday.
This tentative agreement follows a strike authorization vote made on June 20. In particular, union members feared that changes to company benefits plans would place a higher cost burden on workers. Workers were also concerned about the offer of a paltry ten-cent raise to the hourly wage in 2017.
The UFCW/Ralphs/Albertsons case demonstrates the power of even the threat of a strike: a 2003 strike cost southern California grocery stores almost 2 billion dollars, so management knew that stakes were high. Ralphs and Albertsons both said that, in the case of a strike, they might close their stores. Also at play was the possibility that a strike could drum up business for competitors.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which was involved in negotiations, released a statement by director Allison Beck celebrating the agreement.
Pharmacy negotiations are still in progress, according to the UFCW 770 website.