UFCW Urges Calif. Members to Reject Offer

LOS ANGELES — Leaders of the seven Southern California locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union told SN Wednesday they plan to ask members to reject the employers' contract proposal.

LOS ANGELES — Leaders of the seven Southern California locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union told SN Wednesday they plan to ask members to reject the employers' contract proposal.

Voting by the 62,000 clerks and meat cutters here is scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday. A UFCW executive told SN the union knows what it plans to do if the contract is rejected but declined to indicate what that was. Any strike action requires 72 hours' advance notice.

Asked about Wednesday's last scheduled bargaining session, the union executive said the funding stream for health and welfare coverage was "woefully inadequate." Other issues still outstanding include wages and contract language, plus a pharmacy contract, he pointed out.

An employer spokesman — representing Kroger [4]-owned Ralphs, Safeway [5]-owned Vons and Supervalu [6]-owned Albertsons — told SN he isn't sure what the union plans to put before its members "because there's been no agreement on health care and no proposal on wages, nor any comprehensive proposal by either side."

He said the union had not responded to its most recent health care proposal, "and we got a wage proposal from the union last week and we're still crunching those numbers."

He also said Albertsons has begun putting up signs at stores taking applications for temporary workers in the event of a strike. He was not sure if Ralphs and Vons were doing the same, and representatives for those chains could not be reached for comment.

The union contract with the employers expired March 6, and the members gave the union authorization to strike in April.