August 7, 2014 (San Diego) If you shop at Food 4 Less you might have seen pickets. These, according to a Union Official at the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135 these are informational pickets.
Why are these needed? The issues on the table are the attempts of the chain to reduce hours, reduce health benefits and wages of workers at Food 4 Less. Many San Diegans might remember the strike by Ralphs Workers, and a similar list of issues, yet not the same.
The workers at Food 4 Less are not part of the same labor contract. This is an important distinction. According to the Union Official, workers at Food 4 Less do the exact same job as their counterparts in other Union stores in San Diego. These stores include Ralphs, Stater Brothers and Vons.
What workers are asking shoppers is to boycott Food 4 Less and do their shopping at other Union Stores.
According to the UFCW 117 these are some facts about the situation.
Food 4 Less is owned by the Kroger Company – one of the largest and most profitable grocery companies in the US. Just last month, Kroger announced that it made over $500 million in profits just in the 1st quarter of 2014.
Despite these tremendous earnings, Food 4 Less workers (who are mostly Latino and serve customers in the Latino community) earn less than their counterparts at Ralphs (also owned by Kroger). Food 4 Less has more than 90 stores with almost 6,500 workers across Southern California.
These are the issues at play. According to this Union Official, a strike has been authorized but ”we don’t want a strike. We want to settle this.”
Right at the moment 65,000 workers are supporting workers at Food 4 Less stores across Southern California, ranging from the North of Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino, San Diego, Riverside and Imperial County.
Kroeger’s own quarterly report net earnings of $501 million dollars, So this is not even in dispute.
According to this same Union official, the reason the workers at Food 4 Less are treated the way they are treated is because they are working at a “’warehouse store.” The fact is, that except for bagging goods, they do the exact same job as workers at Ralphs.