As we discussed on the telephone town hall on January 5, all Southern California UFCW locals are voting Ralphs’ contract offer again. This vote will take place in the next 2 weeks and it is very important that everyone participate.
As you already know, Albertsons/Vons and Ralphs reached an agreement for a new contract with the Southern California UFCW Locals. The Albertsons/Vons pharmacists accepted the agreement but our Ralphs pharmacists rejected it. On December 19, 2019, all Southern California UFCW locals along with two pharmacists, returned to the table with the company to explain the reasons for the Ralphs pharmacists’ rejection vote. We also made a new proposal that included higher wages, an elimination of the proposal that allowed a waiver of the 40-hour full-time guarantee, and brought back proposals regarding part-time guarantee and float pool seniority. The Ralphs/Kroger spokesperson, Leroy Westmoreland, informed us that Ralphs is unwilling to change the company’s current offer in light of the fact that its competitor Albertsons/Vons pharmacists have already accepted the proposal. Ralphs refuses to enter into a contract that is different from the contract that Albertsons/Vons has.
This vote will determine whether we have a contract with Ralphs including wage increases and retroactivity or whether our pharmacist members are willing to strike to obtain a better contract offer. It is important that everyone understands that a strike is only successful if everyone participates for however long is necessary. During this time, you will not receive a paycheck, however your union will provide you with weekly strike benefits. At the end of the strike, you will return to work but the offer may have changed for the better or worse.
We are providing the contract offer, a ballot and 2 envelopes for return. Please place your ballot in the white envelope and do not write your name on this envelope. Place the white envelope in the pre addressed envelope and mail.
In addition, union representatives will visit all stores and answer any questions. Your representative will have ballots available and if you have not yet mailed in your ballot, please mark the ballot from your Representative and return it at the store. We will mark off everyone who returns a ballot either in person or through the mail to assure that no one votes twice. If you vote in the store and we receive your mail in ballot, we will not count your mail in ballot.
If you have questions and you missed your Representative, you may call the Union and speak to a Representative on duty or a member of your Union’s leadership.
All Local Unions are recommending an acceptance of this offer. This recommendation is based on our current assessment of our strength and our plan to build unity and strength over the next two years to win a better contract. We plan to build solidarity with Ralph’s clerks and pharmacists as well as with Abertsons/Vons members and the community/our patients to be able to win a better contract. All ballots will be counted on January 24, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. We are at a critical juncture and your participation is greatly appreciated.