By Mary O’KEEFE
“(Southern California United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770) members have spoken. Strike Authorization vote overwhelmingly approved by huge turn out.” This according to a text message from UFCW late Wednesday night.
From 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, local workers from Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons voted on the Strike Authorization. About 60,000 members were asked to vote on the Strike Authorization.
The 2007 labor contract expired in early March. The contract had been extended as negotiations continued.
In a recorded message earlier on Wednesday, before the vote, a union representative commented on the long negotiation process.
“[They offer] more takeaways that we clearly cannot accept,” the spokeswoman said. “They want you to work more for significantly less.”
Minutes after the vote the recording changed to notify its members of the strike authorizations adding that the “current contract is still in affect. Negotiations will be back next week.”
In 2003-2004 a long, bitter strike took its toll on employees and customers. Employers hired outside the union to replace striking workers.
That strike lasted about four months and costs the grocery chains reportedly over a billion dollars.