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Grocery workers from Ralphs, Vons, and Albertson's considering strike

Grocery store workers demonstrating outside a Fontana Ralphs on March 8, 2022.
Jonathan Linden
91.9 KVCR
Grocery store workers demonstrating outside a Fontana Ralphs on March 8, 2022.

Over 45,000 Southern California grocery store workers will have until this Sunday to decide whether to authorize a strike.

The vote would be for employees of Ralphs, Alberton's, and Vons, whose contract expired at the start of March. United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW) officials claim that the stores have violated the National Labor Relations Act.

"The allegations are that the employers engaged in concerted activity to dissuade employees or sway employees to disenfranchise them of their collective bargaining rights and or dissuade them in participating," said UFCW Local 1167 President Joe Duffle.

Duffle says the union has multiple allegations against each store, including a complaint that Ralphs was giving some employees around $100 on their employee club cards. "It's unheard of to do it during the bargaining process, throughout the year you want to appreciate someone, through the pandemic if you want to help somebody out that's fine, but when we are in the bargaining process, it is prohibited by law to do those types of things, and the employers know that," said Duffle.

But Duffle says their plan isn't just to have employees walk out immediately if there is an affirmative vote. "We're just saying that look, we know what you're doing, it's illegal, we've filed the appropriate charges, we need to knock this off and get down to bargaining and get done with this," said Duffle.

Stater Bros. Markets has a separate contract and is not included in the walkout vote but is still in negotiations with the union.

Jonathan Linden was a reporter at 91.9 KVCR in San Bernardino, California. He joined KVCR in July 2021 and served with the station till October 2022.