- El Super Campaign
November 17, 2015
Southern California United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union locals 324, 770, 1428 and 1167 represent approximately 600 El Super workers employed at seven locations. For more than 2 years unionized workers at El Super continue to work without a new, fair contract. Learn more about the boycott and the recent nonviolent civil disobedience action here. Please sign the petition in support of El Super Boycott. http://www.boycottelsuper.org/
- Food4Less/FoodsCo. – Tentative Agreement Reached
August 26, 2014
Food 4 Less/Foods Co has more than 90 Southern California stores employing almost 6,500 UFCW union members. After the workers’ union contract expired on June 8, 2014, negotiations for a new agreement did not go well. The company proposed to cut hours, transfer more highly paid work to lower paid employees, and pay a smaller share into workers’ health and welfare fund. It also rejected UFCW’s previous agreement to provide new employees wage rates above the minimum wage, instead insisting on freezing employees at the minimum wage for several years.
UFCW had recently settled contracts with all the major grocery operators in Southern California. Although Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons, Stater Brothers, Gelsons, Super A and others had all signed on to a fair deal that provides workers a decent standard of living, Food 4 Less refused to do the same.
Food 4 Less is owned by the Kroger Company – one of the largest and most profitable grocery companies in the US. In July, Kroger announced that it made over $500 million in profits in just the first quarter of 2014. Despite these tremendous earnings, and despite agreeing to a fair settlement for its Ralphs employees, Food 4 Less workers (who are mostly Latino, serve customers in the Latino community, and earn less than their counterparts at Ralphs, also owned by Kroger) were not being given a fair shake. Kroger refused to offer a fair deal to their Food 4 Less employees, instead insisting on contributing less to the employees’ health care, providing fewer hours of work, and generally making it more difficult for these workers to make ends meet.
On July 22, 2014, The Southern California Labor Movement pledged to support Food 4 Less workers in case they had to go on strike by unanimously approving their strike sanction request at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Several workers testified at the strike sanction meeting, including Jose Garcia who testified about the difficulties of trying to live in Los Angeles on $190 per week, and Keyana Horn, who said that it took her 10 years of hard word to get to a decent pay rate and that she often has to help her co-workers who cannot make ends meet because they do not get enough hours each week and make very low wages.
When the Union met with Food 4 Less/FoodsCo on Wednesday, August 13th, the company still had not changed its position. Food 4 Less was still insisting on eliminating the weekly guarantee of hours in some stores, moving work from higher paid to lower paid workers, reducing the number of full-time jobs, paying less into the workers’ health care fund, and eliminating the ability of new workers to progress above the minimum wage.
Workers began to ask consumers to boycott Food 4 Less/FoodsCo. The entire Southern California labor movement pledged support. Preparations continued for further actions.
Finally, on August 26th, the strength, courage and hard work of workers and the community enabled UFCW to reach a tentative agreement with Food 4 Less/FoodsCo.
“Thanks to the support of consumers and our members’ resolve, I am pleased to say we have reached a tentative contract deal that protects employees’ wages, hours, and health care,” said Rick Icaza, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770. “We would not have been able to accomplish this without the backing of the public, and for all our members I would like to offer our sincerest thanks. Our victory will help protect wages and benefits in this industry, for union and non-union workers alike. We are proud to stand with our customers and friends, who supported us in our time of need.”
- An Update on the El Super Campaign
March 8, 2014
Over 100 workers, labor leaders, community activists, students and clergy members gathered outside a South Los Angeles El Super store on March 7 to demand a fair contract for union grocery workers at the chain. UFCW Local 770 workers and supporters delivered a letter to the store’s managers expressing the urgency of the workers’ need for the company to negotiate fairly with the workers, who delivered over 9,000 signatures from customers in support of their efforts to the negotiating team on Feb. 21st.
“We would like the company to pay us sick leave and give us 40 hours a week – a real full time job,” said Fermin Rodriguez, a cashier and shop steward at El Super #13 where the rally took place. “All workers at El Super deserve to be healthy and that’s why we are asking for sick leave. We’re here to send a message to workers and families that we will keep fighting for you and won’t give up until we win. Every El Super worker deserves a fair contract.”
Reverend Smart of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference kicked off the protest with a prayer for justice, and was joined by Ricardo Mendoza from the office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, who expressed her support for the workers’ demands. Community activist leaders from CLUE LA, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), OURWalmart, Chinatown Community for Equitable Development (CCED), Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation (SCALE), SAJE, Coalition for Economic Survival, Professional Musicians Local 47, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, AFL-CIO, Restaurant Opportunities Center LA, the Jewish Labor Committee and the Clean Carwash Campaign stood up and expressed their support for the workers at El Super #13 and the hundreds of other El Super workers across seven Southern California stores who are fighting for a fair contract.
A Target grocery cart outside El Super #13. The company regularly uses other stores’ carts in an effort to cut costs.
Martin Ayala, who has worked as a meat clerk at the El Super store at Vermont and Slauson for five years, explained why he was marching: “We are fighting for our benefits and for our rights because the El Super company has rejected all of what we’ve asked for at the bargaining committee. We’re asking for sick days because it’s important – we come in to work sick, which is not respectful for the workers or the customers in the committee. We are forced to work sick and we handle food, so this is not good.”
Among the issues that El Super has refused to address in bargaining are respect on the job, seniority rights, health benefits and a guarantee of 40 hours per week for full time workers. The Mexico-based retailer that owns 80% of El Super, Grupo Comercial Chedraui took in $120 million in 2012, and co-President Alfredo Chedraui Obeso’s net worth was reported to be over $1 billion as of January, 2013.
- FEATURED CAMPAIGN: CHINATOWN WAL-MART
June 14, 2013
Ride for Respect Rally, a set on Flickr.
In February 2012, Walmart proposed a small format grocery store in Los Angeles’ Chinatown and obtained its building permits a month later. Low-road retailers such as Walmart, who want to enter into the City of Los Angeles, have actively resisted paying family supporting wages and benefits, and create the threat of displacement for small businesses and cultural/historic districts. UFCW Local 770, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, and a coalition of small business owners, residents, Asian-American organizations, and other groups mobilized to oppose the store, with an appeal against the building permits pending review.
Walmart plans to open a small-format grocery store in order to avoid the oversight that an existing L.A. City superstore ordinance requires. The law, passed in 2004, as the result of the mobilization by UFCW, LAANE and its coalition, enables the city to weigh numerous factors, such as job quality and business loss, in deciding whether to allow big box developments to proceed. L.A.’s superstore ordinance was enacted following Walmart’s failed attempt to open a superstore in the city of Inglewood. Despite spending more than $1 million on a ballot initiative to circumvent the public review process, Walmart was soundly defeated by a coalition of small businesses, clergy, community groups, and unions in 2004.
Quality grocery development should lift up both the physical and financial health of residents in food deserts and be incentivized. Angelenos should be able to decide the type of grocery stores in their neighborhood and have access to quality grocery stores and jobs in all of LA’s communities.
We believe that the grocery industry can help build a strong, healthy regional economy and a better city for all of us.
- BREAKING: Southern California Grocery Workers Reach Tentative Contract
May 23, 2013
Union bargaining committee recommends approval of new agreement
WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 60,000 grocery workers in Southern California, represented by UFCW Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442, have reached a tentative contract agreement with Ralph’s, Albertsons and Vons.
The agreement was reached after 4 months of negotiations. Workers from across Southern California took action to show their solidarity and earn the support of their customers by wearing “Stand Together” buttons at work.
UFCW members from across the region will vote on the proposal in meetings scheduled over the coming weeks. Details of the agreement will not be released until members have had an opportunity to read, discuss, and vote on the tentative agreement.
The current contract expired in early March, and workers are currently on a day to day extension. Private hedge fund Cerberus, which owns Albertsons, recently made a tentative purchase of Safeway, the corporations that owns Vons and Pavilions. That sale could take as long as a year to finalize because it is subject to Federal anti-trust approval.