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New union contract ratified for Ralphs, Albertsons, and Vons employees

UFCW Local 1167 members gathered outside a Fontana Ralphs on March 8, 2022.
Jonathan Linden
91.9 KVCR
UFCW Local 1167 members gathered outside a Fontana Ralphs on March 8, 2022.

Last week, grocery store workers from Ralphs, Albertsons, and Vons agreed to a three-year contract.

The agreement was for more than 47,000 grocery workers across Southern California. "It was contentious many times through bargaining, but the end product was incredible," said United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1167 President Joe Duffle.

Duffle says they had several focuses throughout the negotiations, including wage increases, pension improvements, and employee safety. "Every one of those key points that our members laid out for us, not only were we able to get those things fixed, we improved a lot of things in the current existing contract," Duffle said.

Those improvements include some clerks receiving a $4.25 an hour increase and all new employees starting off higher than minimum wage.

Stater Brothers also came to a contract agreement earlier in the month. Duffle spoke highly of all the contracts. "On all accounts, irrespective again of the contract, both (are) exceptional agreements and on their own are two of the best contracts that UFCW has ever negotiated, and I stand by that," Duffle said.

All agreements went immediately into effect after passage, with all employees receiving back pay for their new increases from when the last contract expired in early March.

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.