Los Angeles Business Journal

Grocery Workers Ratify Contract

By Omar Shamout Friday, May 30, 2014

The grocery workers’ union has ratified two-year labor agreements for 60,000 employees at Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons supermarkets, the union announced Friday.

The contracts bring grocery workers “wage increases, bonuses, and funding to guarantee health and retirement security,” the announcement said.

Rick Icaza, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770, told the Business Journal that established employees will get pay rises of 30 cents an hour, while employees going through the multiyear process toward becoming established will get up to $1.50 more per hour.

The two-year contract will span the possible merger of the corporations that own Vons and Albertsons.

Should the merger go through, it’s possible the Federal Trade Commission could require the new entity to shut down some local stores to avoid a monopoly. Icaza said if that occurs, the union wants California Attorney General Kamala Harris to require they be sold to unionized buyers so employee pensions aren’t affected.

“Hopefully, she’ll be supportive of that,” said Icaza, whose branch represents 32,000 union workers, mostly in Los Angeles.

The grocers and union last agreed to a new contract in 2011 after tensions that nearly led to a strike. This year’s talks were apparently less acrimonious, with no threats of strikes or lockouts.