Food Division members continue to stream into the Local’s Main Auditorium at this hour to vote on whether to authorize the union to call a strike if management doesn’t soften its hard line bargaining position.
The vote is being sought by the Union in an effort to pressure Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons into moving talks forward. President Greg Conger said that the current round of negotiations are familiar for the delay tactics designed to foment fear and distrust among workers.
“We’ve seen this tiresome tactic play out before and we have always managed to overcome it with solidarity. It’s our primary defense. ,” Conger said.
More than three months past the previous contract’s expiration, negotiators for the companies are insisting on barely noticeable pay hikes and have refused to fund member healthcare enough to avoid future cuts in coverage.
Members spent considerable time with union staff prior to casting their votes. Ultimately, members had various reasons for voting the way they did, but meat cutter Jeff Craig from Albertsons 724 in Huntington Beach expressed a common theme for the day so far.
“Nobody wants to go through another strike but the companies aren’t moving at all and this is the only way we can let them know that we are serious and that things have got to change,” he said, explaining his YES vote.
Voting will continue throughout the day and will be counted by a committee of members. Results will be announced when all votes from all Locals have been tallied.