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Union representing Food4Less employees holding rally in efforts to renegotiate contract

Southern California Food4Less workers are ready to strike if negotiations with their parent company, Kroger aren't successful.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union held a rally Friday in Moreno Valley.

Union members did authorize a strike should negotiations next week fail to reach an agreement.

Seven regional United Food and Commercial Workers Unions representing Food4Less workers are headed back to the negotiation table with their parent company.

"We believe that in some cases, it could change some people's lives, you know, anywhere from a minimum hour guarantee getting increased," said local UFCW 1167 Chapter President, Joe Duffle. "Of course, healthcare and pension, hourly rate and the progression steps, larger bumps between those progression steps, and when you can move people through faster, people tend to do better. People tend to stay longer, and that does help the turnover problem that we see so much in retail."

After hosting a rally of about 150 people UFCW members have overwhelmingly authorized a strike authorization. 
"That doesn't necessarily mean we'll go on strike. We do have negotiation dates set for this next week, on the 17th. We hope that Kroger sits down and we get serious about about a contract and a contract offer," added Duffle.

I asked President Duffle: What are the main points that you're advocating for the most when it comes to this new contract?

"One, is no surprise, is wages. As as inflation goes up and things move up, their wages have not," answered Duffle.

UFCW chapters representing Food4Less employees throughout the region, from the Mexican border to Nevada are all under one collective bargaining agreement. 

These chapters have released several statements alleging that their parent company, Kroger is attempting to "strongarm" workers into accepting an offer that’s less than what they offer other grocery workers in the region. 

"If we don't reach an agreement, the seven local unions will meet along with the bargaining committee of members that have been present in negotiations and will determine what is the next best path to take," said Duffle.

Although the union has strike authorization their ultimate hope is to get a finalized deal. 

"Strikes are are really not a good thing, however, it's the only power that union members or employees have to stand up and and kind of demand maybe certain changes in their work environment, or certain dignities on the job as well as wages and benefits," said Duffle.

In addition to a looming strike, UFCW also filed charges against Food4Less and FoodsCo claiming unfair labor practices including a failure to bargain in good faith. 

"Kroger decided to go directly to the membership and handed out an agreement over the weekend, particularly that was never discussed, never spoken about in negotiations, where in negotiations that's uncalled for. It's unconscionable," said Duffle.

Duffle adds that an agreement could be reached as soon as Monday if Kroger comes to the table on the union's latest proposal.

Stay with News Channel 3 for any new developments.

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Bianca Ventura

Bianca Ventura joined KESQ News Channel 3 as a reporter in February 2022.


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