Los Angeles-based Teamster unions representing more than 4,000 warehouse workers and truck drivers who deliver food and supplies to Southern California’s largest grocery stores, Albertsons (includes Vons and Pavilions) and Kroger (includes Ralphs and Food4Less), reached a tentative agreement early Oct. 10 that avoids a strike by protecting Teamster families’ – and retirees’ – affordable health care.
The tentative agreement was negotiated virtually due to the pandemic.
In a letter to members, Lou Villalvazo, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 630 and chair of the Teamsters Joint Council 42 Food & Grocery Negotiating Committee, said Oct. 10, “We are proud to announce that early this morning, we reached a tentative agreement with the food employers (Ralphs Grocery, Albertsons and Vons). Going into bargaining, our No. 1 concern was protecting your family’s – and retirees’ – affordable health care. Not only did we achieve that; your bargaining committee secured additional funding from the grocers to increase our reserve levels to protect your health care in the future.”
Eric Jimenez, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 952, noted, “Throughout this pandemic, our members have worked non-stop to make sure the shelves were stocked and these companies stayed afloat. All they’ve asked for in return is a safe workplace, affordable health care for their families, a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work and retirement security.”
Rick Middleton, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 572 and Teamsters International VP, said, “Our members’ willingness to strike to protect their families sent a strong message to Kroger and Albertsons that resonated. We are very proud of the deal we have reached and strongly recommend a ratification by members.”
Randy Cammack, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 63 and president of Teamsters Joint Council 42, said, “We could not have achieved this momentous victory without the solidarity of each and every Teamster local union involved in these negotiations – both at the table and as shop stewards in the yards. Further, the strong and public support for our fight for health care from Joint Council 42, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Locals 324 and 770, the L.A. County Federation of Labor, the faith community and countless politicians sent a strong message to the employers that our fight was a community-wide fight and when they take the Teamsters on, they take on America.”
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service assisted both parties to reach an agreement. Teamster members will be recommended to ratify the contract in coming weeks.