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EL MONTE, Calif. - In a show of solidarity with striking grocery workers in Southern California, the Teamsters union has announced that its members will no longer make deliveries to Vons, Ralphs, and Albertsons supermarkets in the area to cut off supplies to their stores during Thanksgiving shopping week, according to the Associated Press and other published reports.
The grocery workers have moved their picket lines in front of the stores' regional distribution centers, where Teamsters drivers have declined to load or unload groceries.
"The holidays are the best time to hit them," noted Jim Santangelo, president of the Teamsters Joint Council 42. "Hopefully this will help get (the companies') attention and put this thing to an end." He said that the move was a preventive measure against future Teamsters negotiations with the stores. "If the grocery clerks get beat up in these negotiations, then we'll be next when our contract comes up in two years."
The chains responded that they have contingency plans in place to keep their supermarkets stocked and open as planned. In a joint statement they said, "The (United Food and Commercial Workers) union has again demonstrated that it is focused on attempts to disrupt the process rather than addressing the real issues that would resolve this labor dispute."
Additionally, the strikers said Monday that they would extend their picket lines to stores in northern California and Washington. D.C.
Since Oct. 11 approximately 70,000 workers have either been on strike or locked out, affecting almost 860 stores in Southern California. There is currently no timetable for resuming talks between union and supermarket officials, which were in recess Monday after starting again Saturday.