LOS ANGELES — Members of seven Southern California locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union voted "overwhelmingly" this week to give negotiators the authority to call a strike, a union official told SN.
While he declined to pinpoint the actual vote tally, Greg Conger, president of UFCW Local 324, said, "We had assumed the vote would be in the low to high 80s, but it surpassed that."
He said negotiating sessions are scheduled for the next three weeks with representatives of Supervalu-owned Albertsons, Kroger Co.-owned Ralphs and Safeway-owned Vons, "and we hope the employers now realize their employees want us to get this done."
The contracts expired March 6 and, after extending them until the end of March, both sides agreed to extend them on a day-to-day basis, with either side having the right to cancel with a 72-hour notification.
Conger said 20,000 of the 62,000 workers voted, "which is the average for this kind of vote" — though the turnout was closer to 80% in 2003, he noted, when the Southern California industry went through a 141-day strike-lockout.