Smart & Final shelves may be emptier this Thanksgiving due to union member strikes

Teamsters Local 630 members say Chedraui will close down two warehouses and force them to reapply at a bigger facility.

Amanda Palacios Image
Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Smart & Final shelves may be emptier due to union members strikes
Teamsters Local 630 members who work at Chedraui-owned Smart & Final warehouses in Riverside and Commerce have been striking since Nov. 1, citing unfair labor practices.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Customers who are out shopping at Smart & Final this Thanksgiving holiday may notice certain items are missing from the shelves. Basic food items like fruits and vegetables, cereal products and even candy are missing.

"I kind of assumed after Halloween they would have a bunch of excess, but really, it was honestly a pretty empty shelf," said customer Sven Fischer.

Many of the shelves are empty because Teamsters Local 630 members who work at Chedraui-owned Smart & Final warehouses are out on the picket line.

"These guys move a lot of volume at this time of year, about 170,000 cases in one day. From what we heard, they're getting less than a quarter of that done in there, about 40,000 cases," said Teamsters Local 630 President Frank Afoa.

Teamster Local 630 members have been on strike since Nov. 1 and said Chedraui, the company that bought out Smart & Final in 2021, wants to close the Commerce and Riverside warehouses and fire over 600 workers.

"The company plans on consolidating and moving all their workers to a bigger facility out in Rancho Cucamonga and terminating their employment," Afoa said. "Guys anywhere from two years to 35 years and having them reapply for less money."

Eyewitness News reached out to Chedraui for a statement, but hasn't heard back. Teamster Local 630 members said they hope they can bargain out a contract that will protect the workers and their jobs.

"All we're asking for is to come to the table. Let's bargain out a fair contract that is proper and right that protects these employees that have built the Smart & Final brand over the last 150 years," Afoa said.

Teamsters Local 630 members say they hope to go back to work and will continue negotiations later this month.

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