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Ralphs, Albertsons Could Close if Workers Strike

Angela Monroe

Ralphs, Albertsons Could Close if Workers Strike

CREATED Sep. 17, 2011

Grocery store workers at our local Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons could go on strike on Sunday.

Our local Ralphs and Albertsons could close their doors if grocery workers go on strike.
And if that happens, the question is whether they will all open again after the strike.

Ralphs says they will close all their southern California stores if workers go on strike
And Albertsons says up to 100 of their 220 SoCal stores could shut their doors.
"I think it's a scare tactic with the companies too, they want to scare us so we just sign the contract that they give us also," said Vons employee, Debra Payton.

We asked if the stores will reopen after the potential strike.
"We will evaluate which stores to reopen based on how long the strike will be and the business conditions at that time," said Albertson's spokesperson, Christie Ly.

Meanwhile, shoppers we spoke with don't want to see their stores close.
"I don't think we can afford to lose any jobs right now, it's that crucial, I think every job is important, so hopefully they can come up with a solution," said Palm Springs resident, Tim Duffy.

Debra Payton, a 25 year employee of Vons, wants a solution too.
She showed us her sign from the last strike.
"That was six months, that was tough times, but we have to do what we have to do too, and like I said we want the companies to make money but we also need to make money and be able to live also."

A big sticking point is health care costs.
"A lot of them only make between 17 and 20 thousand a year, so we'd end up paying half of our salary just for our health care," said Payton.
But grocery store representatives say they are just asking for a small increase to defray growing health care costs.
"We're asking them to pay 9 dollars a week for single coverage and up to 23 for family coverage. There's research out there, independent research that estimates the average American pays about 76 dollars a week for family coverage," said Ly.

Both sides say they hope it doesn't come to a strike.  But both are getting ready if it does.
The union and grocery stores did come to an agreement on the pension plan.  It continues to be 100 percent employer contribution.