Ralphs, Albertsons Will Close Stores If Workers Strike

Officials say last strike created poor shopping experience for customers.

Ralphs will temporarily close all of its Southern California stores if grocery workers go on strike, and Albertsons will shut down 100 markets, company officials said Friday.

Citing the difficulty of creating "a good shopping experience for our customers and a good working environment for our employees" during a walkout, Ralphs spokeswoman Kendra Doyel said the chain would initially close every store. The company would then reopen markets on a case-by-case basis, she told ABC.

Albertsons announced similar plans. "One of the lessons we learned during the 2003-2004 labor dispute is that it doesn't make good business sense to try to operate all our stores during a strike,'' the company said in a statement.

Officials with Vons said its stores would remain open in a strike.

Under action taken by the United Food and Commercial Workers union Thursday, .

A 141-day strike in 2003-04 cost the stores an estimated $1.5 billion, and led some customers to make long-term changes to their shopping habits by going to independent grocers and specialty outlets. Both sides agreed they were hurt by the walkout.

Unionized grocery employees at stores from Santa Barbara County to the Mexican border have been working without a contract since March 6.

Under the most recent management offer, workers would pay about $36 per month for individual health insurance, or $92 per month for family coverage. Union officials argue the insurance fund would not be financially viable and want the supermarkets to contribute more.

No tentative agreement on wages has been reached.

met00 September 18, 2011 at 11:53 PM
Julie, they have done a great job since Bush II gave them all the money. "The Bush tax cuts were a failure even before the onset of the recession at the tail end of the Bush administration. From 2001-2005, President Bush oversaw the slowest five-year period of economic growth since World War II; the following five years, with help from the downturn, were even worse. Bush also presided over the first decline in median household incomes since the 1960s " So, all that money to the wealthiest 1% and no jobs... So much for the magic of the Chicago School of Economics. As Stockman (Reagan's budget director) said, trickle down is a lie, it's all about redistribution of wealth. [It's only class warfare when the Working Class demand it, when the wealthy get it, it is deserved since they are the job producers / job creators.]
met00 September 18, 2011 at 11:55 PM
Did you know that a Congressman gets his full pension (over $65K/yr) and full benefits at 50? And they want you to share the sacrifice while they get to keep what is rightfully theirs. Got to love the double standard.
Susan Conti September 19, 2011 at 01:00 AM
Sad for you met00 that you have a company with a union - after 25 years of HR experience and negotiating several union contracts - most experienced execs in labor know that the unions don't care about their members. They are paid based on increasing membership (dues) and signing contracts (to lock them in). They drive company paid cars (on the dues of their people). Having a union means employees don't trust management or the company to make the right decisions for them. Otherwise you wouldn't need one and wouldn't want your employees stuck paying a management fee every month to find someone who will listen to their concerns. How sad for you. I would much rather own a company that knows they listen to employees, address their concerns and help make them a part of the company. Also, the right to think and act for yourself, make decisions for yourself. I don't think as the owner of a company I'd be bragging about it being run by a union.
met00 September 19, 2011 at 01:20 AM
Darn, the sarcasm was lost on you. My point was simple. Your mentality is about racing to the bottom. If there is someone else who will do it for less, then it's all about getting it for less. I suggest you read Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell to get an understanding of why in this race to the bottom, the working class (and yes, that was what we called it before it was the middle class) get's screwed. As for unions, believe it or not, I agree with many of your points about the current union system. These are just corporate giants run for the benefit of the corporate employees, not the rank and file membership. I have worked for crap unions, sweetheart unions, and actual decent unions (the last is few and far between). But, you like weekends? Thank a Union. You like health benefits? Thank a Union. You like paid sick time? Thank a Union. You like paid vacations? Thank a Union. You like workplace safety? Thank a Union. You like retirement financial security? Thank a Union. You like child labour laws? Thank a Union. You like minimum wage? Thank a Union. Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Cleve Killingsworth received a pay package worth $8.6 million. Assuming an 80 hour workweek 52 weeks a year that comes to $2067/hr. Now we all know that he doesn't work 80 hrs a week 52 weeks a year and that number is closer to $5K/hr. Is anyone worth that? All this while "cutting workers" to save money. And you wonder why employees don't trust the company?
Nikki Illingworth September 19, 2011 at 09:48 PM
Glad I am a Whole Foods fan!


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