A tentative agreement was announced April 5 after months of negotiations, including a marathon 30-hour bargaining session, but required member approval.
“[Union] the members came together and worked tirelessly for this contract,” Christine Martinez, pharmacy technician at Ralphs in Placentia, said in a statement. “We have said loud and clear that we deserve a contract that reflects our hard work.”
Negotiations heated up the week before the previous contract expired on March 6. Three weeks later, with no agreement reached, members of United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442 voted to authorize a strike. , which will never happen.
Union officials were seeking a $5-per-hour raise over three years, as well as improved safety standards and hours. The stores were offering raises of $1.80, also over three years.
The ratified contract gave workers a $4.25 per hour raise over three years, starting with a $2 per hour increase retroactive to March 7, according to documents obtained by mail. The agreement also guarantees all fully available part-time employees a minimum of 28 hours per week as well as increased benefits and updated safety commitments.
“This historic contract sets the standard for what is possible for workers, not just in the grocery industry, but in industries across the country,” said Pio Figueroa, food clerk at Ralphs in Laguna Beach, in a press release. “This is a huge win for workers and demonstrates how essential we are to our communities.
The contract covers more than 47,000 grocery workers at approximately 540 stores, including 10 in Long Beach represented by UFCW Local 324.
In a statement, Ralphs vice president of operations Robert Branton said the company was “pleased” that a deal had been reached.
“The agreement comes after thoughtful and productive work by the company and union bargaining committees,” Branton said. “This contract is an affirmation of our commitment to providing a competitive benefits package to our associates and makes Ralphs a great place to work.”
Last night’s announcement came less than a week after members of the same union voted to ratify a similar contract with Stater Bros., which affects 13,000 grocers in 170 locations, including about 100 in a store in Long Beach.
“By ratifying this contract, Stater Bros. workers have won life-changing raises, better health care and protected pensions for the next three years,” the residents said in a joint April 9 statement. “After more than two years of risking their lives to serve California communities as essential workers, UFCW members have come together for their families and each other, and have earned one of the toughest contracts ever. landmarks in California labor history.”
Grocery union avoids strike with tentative agreement