LOS ANGELES — For the second time in four months, clerks and meat cutters in Southern California have voted to authorize a strike. The latest vote was announced Sunday, following two days of voting on the contract proposals that were on the table when bargaining talks ended last Wednesday.
Before any strike can occur, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union would have to give 72 hours' notice to the area's three major employers — Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons. A strike against one would probably result in lockouts by the other two.
Mickey Kasparian, the president of UFCW Local 135 in San Diego, said a federal mediator would continue to work toward a resolution, but a strike could be called in five or six days if there are no positive developments. "If we don't get a deal, we'll take this fight to the streets," he said.
Speaking on behalf of the three employers, Kendra Doyel, group vice president, government and public affairs at Ralphs, said the strike authorization vote is a common negotiating tactic and does not necessarily mean the union will call a strike. "Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons remain committed to reaching a contract that is good for our employees and keeps these union jobs sustainable for the future," Doyel said in a statement.
Both Albertsons and Vons have posted signs in their stores seeking temporary workers in case of a work stoppage.