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Southern California Grocery Strike Days Away?

Mike Vulpo |
September 17, 2011 | 11:37 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Ralphs will shut its doors if a strike begins.
Ralphs will shut its doors if a strike begins.
After months of negotiations, it appears that Union officials and the supermarkets are losing hope that a strike can be avoided. 

Union workers at Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions received a 72 hours notice to cancel their labor contract extension Thursday evening. According to the Los Angeles Times, once the contract is no longer in effect, grocery workers can strike at any time.

The decision, however, doesn’t guarantee a strike will occur after 72 hours, or Sunday night. Union officials can still choose to have their employees work while negotiations continue.

It also could simply be another threat against the supermarkets who appear to be not willing to bulge when it comes to the main sticking points including rising health care costs. 

Both the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and the supermarkets claim they do not want to see a replay of what happened in 2003 when a strike, lasting 141 days, left grocery store chains losing millions of dollars in revenue and strike employees struggling to pay their bills.

Ralphs made a surprising announcement Friday evening. Unlike the last strike, when employees walk out, Ralphs will close all of their Southern California stores until they can provide the customer service their customers expect.

"During a strike, it is difficult to create a good shopping experience for our customers and a good working environment for our employees. We will evaluate the situation as it progresses," said Kendra Doyel, spokeswoman for Ralphs.

Albertsons also released a statement Friday night stating they would close some of their stores. According to KTLA, Albertsons would close up to 100 area stores in the event of a strike.

Pharmacies, however, will remain open in both stores in the event of a strike.

Reach Mike Vulpo here 

Related Content: Workers and Stores Prepare For Strike

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