FULLERTON, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Grocery workers struggling to maintain their healthcare and preserve their place in the middle class will be joined by prominent community leaders and local clergy at the doorsteps of Albertsons’ corporate headquarters in Fullerton on Tuesday, June 28.
The event will formally kick off at noon at 1421 Manhattan Avenue in Fullerton and will represent another escalation from the union workers in their ongoing dispute with the Big Three grocery chains.
The rally will coincide with similar actions outside the Vons regional headquarters in Arcadia and Ralphs in Compton.
Rank-and-file grocery workers will add their voices to the mix as they speak to the crowd about how the Big Three’s current contract proposals would devastate their families, leaving many with the untenable choice between an evening meal or a medical prescription.
Estimates are that, if implemented, management’s proposal would amount to a $7,000 annual pay cut. Most grocery workers are permanent part-time employees whose average annual income hovers around $17,000. All three grocery chains, by contrast, have emerged from the recession posting multi-billion dollar profits.
“Their business plan relies on fear and they believe we’re too afraid to walk out. They don’t understand that for a lot of us, our healthcare plans are the only things keeping us in this industry,” said 21-year Albertsons checker Kelly Pierce.
Only a week before Independence Day, workers will point out how massive cutbacks in pay and benefits have made some workers eligible for public assistance — a fact underscored by a recent Vons letter to employees that provided step-by-step instructions on how to collect welfare.
Clergy and community leaders will deliver a letter to Albertsons executives urging them to negotiate a contract that enables workers to raise their families with their middle-class neighbors, not on the backs of middle-class taxpayers.
Also during, the event, 90-year-old World War II veteran Joe Reilly, a retired member of the Machinists union, will describe how his experiences as a liberator of Nazi concentration camps shaped his lifelong advocacy of union rights in America.
Union leaders have been in negotiations with the Big Three since February. The contract that covered 62,000 workers expired March 6, prompting workers to authorize a strike if talks don’t make progress.