Grocery companies call strike 'a bad idea'
Oct 13, 2003 12:00 PM, from staff and wire reportsAlbertson's Inc, Vons, and Ralph's Grocery Co officials characterized a union decision to strike against Vons stores in Southern California as "a bad idea that inflicts economic hardship on employees of the companies and inconveniences the general public."
United Food and Commercial Workers union representatives of 70,000 workers announced October 11 that Vons workers throughout Southern California would walk out of their stores on strike. Ralph's and Albertson's workers will remain on the job unless they are locked out by the three supermarket giants.
The three supermarket companies have been working together for a package of cuts in employee benefits.
"We put forward a very good offer that the union leadership rejected out of hand," said Tom Keller, Vons president. "Since then, the unions have misrepresented our offer, and appear to be determined to follow a strike path that holds no upside for our people."
The companies' offer for current employees calls for no wage reductions. Take-home pay for existing employees will increase over life of the contract. The companies are asking employees to share in a portion of their health care benefitsÑ$5 a week for the employeeês coverage and $10 to $15 a week to cover the entire family.
All three grocery companies will continue to operate their stores during the strike.