Local Supermarket Workers Keep Close Eye on Sacramento Agreement By JAKOB SCHILLER

Tuesday December 28, 2004

Workers in the Sacramento area will soon be voting to ratify a new union contract at three large California supermarkets, but Bay Area markets are still in doubt, according to Matthew Hardy, a spokesperson for the United Food and Commercial Workers’ union. 

UFCW Local 588 in Sacramento, which represents 19,000 workers at Safeway, Kroger and Albertson’s, announced the agreement last week, but would not release the details of the contract until after workers have voted. The union had threatened to strike if an agreement was not reached. 

Some 30,000 more workers in the Bay Area are still negotiating their own contract which expired later than the one in Sacramento, according to Hardy,  

“We still have yet to put our health and welfare proposal across the table,” he said. 

Nonetheless, he said, workers are preparing for a possible strike if negotiations do not go well. Workers all over California as well as in other states have prepared for strikes after Southern California grocery workers went on strike for four and a half months during their contract negotiations. 

Hardy said workers and their supporters including the California Labor Federation stood outside 54 Safeway stores in 25 Bay Area cities last week asking customers to sign pledge cards saying they would support workers in the event of a strike.   

“Even though Sacramento settled, we are still going to continue on with our program,” said Hardy.