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ANAHEIM, Calif. - Union leaders in Southern California said today they would 'unequivocally recommend' to members that they vote to reject a final proposal from Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons, and authorize a strike that could commence this Saturday, Oct. 11.
Leaders of seven unions representing 70,000 grocery workers in Southern California received the employers' final proposal shortly before midnight on Oct. 5, which was the contract expiration.
"Despite the Union's best efforts to divert the employers from the disastrous course they are forcing on workers, the employers refused to move off a plan that is devastating to workers and their families with regard to healthcare, retirement, and job security," the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said in a statement.
The supermarket chains have said rising health care costs and a sluggish economy are squeezing their ability to remain competitive with other chains, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., that employ nonunion workers.
Union leaders have been meeting with representatives of the three grocery chains for two months.
Members will have the opportunity to vote on the supermarket giants' final proposal on Wednesday and Thursday at membership meetings throughout Southern California.
A strike would affect 859 supermarkets and impact 70,000 grocery workers in Southern California.