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Rally held in support of grocery union workers

June 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A large union in Southern California and local residents are showing support for the area's grocery store employees, who are locked in a contract dispute with major supermarket chains.

Several dozen people gathered Monday afternoon to begin a rally at the Inglewood Ralphs store, all in support of grocery workers who have authorized the strike.

Community members and fellow union members, many from the Service Employees International Union, which represents janitors and other service workers, joined the effort Monday. They're all in support of grocery workers who have been without a contract for the last three months.

Healthcare benefits remain the sticking point between the Albertsons, Ralphs, and Vons chains and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

Many remember a strike seven years ago and say they do not want to see that repeated, but say that if it does happen they will not cross the picket lines.

"When they're going on strike, they're not working, they're not feeding their families, they're taking a risk, and it shouldn't have to go to that," said Inglewood resident Della Bishop.

"I am really concerned about a strike," said Milton Holland, a union employee at Vons. "I mean, you know, I want to thank the neighborhood for supporting us on this strike, but we just don't want our benefits to be cut. You know, cost of living is going up."

In a statement from Ralphs Grocery Stores, the company said: "Any talk of a strike is unnecessary at this point. We have a day schedule to continue to negotiate for the next several weeks. We believe the only place to reach an agreement is at the negotiating table and we are committed to achieve that."

Both sides say they are working to avoid a strike. Folks are vowing that if grocery workers do go on strike, they're saying that they will not be crossing the picket lines.


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