• Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

Food For the Hungry

Because So Much Is Riding On Your Food For the Hungry

Grocery store workers in Southern California to vote on possible strike

Grocery store workers in Southern California will cast ballots from March 21 through March 23 to decide whether they will go on strike. The contract for 60,000 employees covering over 500 grocery stores, including Southern California grocery giants Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilion Stores, as well as Gelson’s and Stater Bros., expired on March 6 without a new contract agreement being reached by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 770.

Grocery worker cast ballot on strike authorization (UFCW Local 770 Facebook)

The UFCW bargaining unit in Southern California met with Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions in January to negotiate a new contract for employees. However, an agreement was not reached, the union says, because the paltry 60 cent increase proposed by the companies was not adequate. 

With inflation higher today than at any point over the past 40 years, grocery workers are struggling to make ends meet. Having been identified as essential, workers have had to work throughout a raging pandemic while their living standards have been ravaged by inflation. 

The majority of workers in the grocery industry, a whopping 77 percent, are hired on a part-time basis, although many of them work 35-40 hours a week. Despite some increases in pay, most workers are finding it difficult to pay rent and keep food on the table. The findings from a survey by the Economic Roundtable in January found that while working for a large conglomerate of grocery chains, more than three quarters of workers at Kroger are food insecure and that 14 percent were homeless last year. Many workers will go hungry to keep their children and even their pets fed, or consume cheap, heavily processed foods in order to survive.

The pandemic has also had a major impact on grocery workers. In addition to being concerned for their own health and wellbeing, many were concerned about becoming infected at work and bringing COVID-19 home to their families. One 34-year-old employee, a single parent, recently lost a battle with the highly infectious disease. Still other workers had to manage with constant staff shortages and enforcing mask mandates and regulations in the face of sometimes combative customers. 


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