By Margot Roosevelt
Source: Los Angeles Times
Whipsawed by the pandemic, spurred by fury over wage stagnation and alarmed by inflation, Southern California’s unionized grocery workers gained their biggest pay raises in decades Thursday as they ratified a new contract with the region’s largest food chains.
The three-year contract’s overwhelming approval, by 87%, followed strike authorization votes two weeks earlier by union locals representing 47,000 employees at 540 Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.
After four months of bargaining, Kroger, the parent company of Ralphs, and Albertsons, which owns Pavilions and Vons, agreed to raises of 19% to 31% over current pay levels for most workers. Part-time employees, about 70% of the workforce, are guaranteed 28 hours weekly, up from 24.