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At four meetings around Arizona, members of Phoenix-based UFCW Local 99 voted in overwhelming numbers to give their union leaders authority to call a strike, should one become necessary, against the Fry’s and Safeway supermarket chains.
“Our No. 1 priority is to negotiate a fair and equitable contract for our members, and we will leave no stone unturned in that endeavor,” UFCW Local 99 president Jim McLaughlin said after the votes were counted. “This vote shows that the members are united in achieving our goals. The results expressed the members’ emphatic rejection of recent contract proposals by the supermarket companies. Those proposals would have resulted in a loss of earnings for our members at a time when everyone is struggling just to get by.”
McLaughlin declined to speculate on the likelihood of a labor dispute. “We are not revealing our strategies through the press,” he said. “We have a number of resources at our disposal at this time, and we intend to evaluate all of them.”
At presstime, the supermarket chains had not responded to messages from Progressive Grocer asking for comment.