Pickets pull away from two grocery chains’ distribution centers in California

| Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Pickets have moved away from the distribution centers operated by the grocery retailers under strike in Southern California, NBC News reported recently, except for centers operated by Vons.

That means long-haul truckers delivering to many of the warehouses no longer face a choice between crossing a picket line or not delivering, and that many Teamsters workers at the warehouses are returning to work. Roughly 6,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters working for Ralphs or Albertsons are affected by the action, but 2,000 remain off the job at Vons warehouses.

The action came days after the latest round of talks between officials of four grocery retailers and the United Food and Commercial Workers broke down.

The labor dispute, which centers on health care benefits, started Oct. 21 and covers more than 800 Southern California stores operated by Vons, Ralph's, Pavilions and Albertsons. Those stores make up roughly 60 percent of all groceries in the southern half of the state.

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