The AFL-CIO is calling on
its members across the United States to take actions against the three grocery
chains under a strike since October. Those actions will include bringing picket
lines to markets outside the strike area.
The California conflict, 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, and more than 70,000 workers are taking part.
In a statement Jan. 20, the
AFL-CIO said it would focus efforts on community support and “intense education of Safeway shoppers”
nationwide. Safeway is the parent company of Vons, a strike target along with
Ralphs, owned by Krogers, and Albertsons, a national chain based in Idaho.
“We’re bringing the pickets
to new markets, additional markets other than Southern California,” Sarah
Massey, a spokeswoman for the AFL-CIO, told Land
“We have brought pickets to
the Bay Area and Seattle previously, and those I think are definitely markets
we’re looking at,” she added. “Anywhere where Safeway has a big market, we’re
going to look at.”
At this point, Massey said, the pickets are planning only for
grocery store locations, and will not include distribution centers.
The expansion was announced
at a meeting of union leaders from more than 50 cities and officials of the
United Food and Commercial
The Associated Press reported recently that the
AFL-CIO had assigned two of its top leaders to coordinate national strategy in
support of the strike. Richard Trumka, the labor group’s secretary treasurer,
and Ron Judd, another to AFL-CIO official, will coordinate activities outside
the strike zone and contact executives of the national firms behind the
The grocery worker strike in
Southern California has dragged on despite numerous attempts to end it.
The last was a round of secret
negotiations between union officials and representatives of Vons, Albertsons and Ralphs that
occurred earlier this month. Unlike previous gatherings, this one did not
include a federal mediator. However, like others, it ended with no settlement.
Several other labor actions, some
targeting the same corporations as the California strike, were either averted,
or started and were settled since the California strike began.
--by Mark H. Reddig, associate
Mark Reddig can be reached at email@example.com.