LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents more than 700 pharmacists and pharmacy workers at Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions stores in Southern California, has rejected the latest contract offer from employers.
The UFCW, which represents seven local residents, said in a statement released Wednesday that the contract did not meet the needs of the majority of their members.
“As we work with a federal mediator to return to the negotiating table with these employers and secure the contract our members deserve, we are poised to take all necessary steps to ensure our members’ voices are heard. the UFCW said in a statement. pronunciation.
After an “overwhelming” vote on Saturday, union members gave the union leadership permission to call for a strike. No dates have been set for a strike and negotiations with the stores have continued.
UFCW has filed a lawsuit against the stores with the National Labor Relations Board for unfair labor practices, alleging that they engaged in “unlawful and unfair treatment”. The allegations include retaliation against pharmacists who engage in union activities, attempts to bribe pharmacists with bonuses instead of negotiating pay increases, and hiring temporary workers to undermine union activity.
The seven local residents make up the largest union shopping contract in the country.
“Southern California’s essential pharmacists have made their voices heard with this vote,” local union members said in a joint statement Friday. “This vote authorizes union leaders to call for a strike and lays the groundwork for more than 600 pharmacists across California to stand up to protect their rights and ensure they have the opportunity to treat their patients.” and communities effectively.”
John Votava, a Ralphs spokesperson, told CNS that the store continues to negotiate in good faith and that the strike permit does not mean a strike or work stoppage.
“Our company is committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith with local unions until an agreement is reached that meets the needs of our pharmacy employees and ensures that our customers have access to affordable medicines while the stores remain competitive,” said Votava. .
Votava called the allegations of unfair labor practices a “fear tactic that the UFCW could use to call a strike and cause disruption to our company, employees and communities.” He said the National Labor Relations Board has not investigated the claims.
“Ralphs follows the law and has not been notified of any wrongdoing,” Votava said.
Albertsons, owner of Pavilions and Vons, did not respond to a request for comment.