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Henry M. Newhall


Actual vote tally will not be released, union officials say
| Sunday, Sep 25, 2011

Southern California grocery workers have approved a new labor contract with the Vons, Ralphs and Albertson’s supermarket chains.

Members of seven United Food and Commercial Workers locals voted Friday and Saturday on an agreement hammered out last week between the union and supermarket owners. They had been without an active contract since March.

“This deal protects our members’ health care and pension, and provides modest increases in wages,” said Rick Icaza, president of UFCW Local 770.

“This is a win for grocery workers, our communities and our local economy,” Icaza said in a statement. “Without the unity and determination of our members, this deal would not have been possible. And without the unwavering support of consumers and the community, it would have been a much tougher fight.”

UFCW representatives had put the supermarket chains on notice Sept. 15 that they’d possibly strike if an agreement couldn’t be reached in 72 hours. The notice led to a marathon bargaining session that culminated in a tentative agreement the following Monday. The agreement needed a simple marjority of affirmative votes from union members to pass.

Rather than each local having a potentially separate election outcome, votes were pooled from the seven affected locals: 8, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442.

Officials from Local 770 in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties  said details of the vote would be released in the coming week. However, representatives of Local 324 in Orange County said, “In keeping with the union’s longstanding policy, the actual numbers are not being released.”

The new contract affects approximately 62,000 workers in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The new contract runs through March 2, 2014.

Union officials said pharmacists and pharmacist interns at the three chains would vote on their contract by mail, with ballots to be sent out this week.

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