LOS ANGELES — Members of seven Southern California locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union were scheduled to vote Friday and Saturday on a new three-year agreement.
That agreement, which is being recommended by union leaders, was hammered out last Monday after a 26-hour bargaining session with the three major chains here.
If it is ratified, the agreement will succeed the contract that expired March 6, which had been extended on a day-to-day basis until Sept. 15, when the union gave the employers a 72-hour advance cancellation notice. That led to the round-the-clock bargaining session.
Asked why the two sides were finally able to reach an agreement after six months of talking, Greg Conger, president of UFCW Local 324, told SN, “I don't know. It should not have taken this long.
“But our goal was to save the affordable health care plan our members had — including funding through the life of the new contract — and through the process of give-and-take, we were able to save the plan, though with some changes.”
He declined to discuss specifics of the agreement.
In a joint statement, Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons said, “We are pleased to have reached a tentative settlement agreement with the union that continues to preserve good wages [and] secure[s] pensions and access to quality, affordable health care while allowing us to be competitive in the marketplace.”
Just before the tentative agreement was reached, both Albertsons and Ralphs had said they would temporarily close stores in the event of a strike, saying it would “not make good business sense” to keep them open.