One grocery strike ends, but two others continue

| Wednesday, November 05, 2003

One of three grocery strikes is over as 10,000 plus workers prepare to return to their jobs in the St. Louis area.

However, two other grocery worker strikes, one in Southern California and one in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, both continued into November.

Strikers targeted more than 90 stores operated under the Schnuck's, Dierberg's and Shop & Save banners in St. Louis, local media outlets reported.

According to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the strike started when more than 10,000 grocery workers who are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655 struck one of the stores, Shop & Save. In response, that company and the other two chains locked out union workers.

During the strike, the stores are using a combination of management and roughly 7,800 temporary replacement workers, The Post-Dispatch said. The St. Louis strikers were then joined by workers in other unions, including auto workers, who were showing their support.

The agreement was reached late last week as representatives from both management and labor met with a federal mediator, The Kansas City Star reported. Union members voted to approve the pact by 4,174 to 945.

KSDK TV in St. Louis said that while many workers were happy that the main issue of the strike – health insurance – was apparently settled to their satisfaction, some were upset that more issues were not resolved to their satisfaction. Grocery store officials contacted by the station declined to comment.

In Southern California, more than 800 stores operated by Vons, Ralph's, Pavilions and Albertsons - roughly 60 percent of all groceries in the southern half of the state – are still the target of a strike by 70,000 workers. The strike, which centers on health benefits, started Sunday, Oct. 12.

In addition, roughly 3,000 workers in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky are also still on strike since Oct. 13, picketing Kroger Co., the parent of California strike target Ralph's, after rejecting a contract offer.

Health insurance was the main issue in both those strikes as well.