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As Possible SoCal Grocery Workers Strike Looms, The Impact Of The Last Strike As Told By Those Who Lived It

Albertsons grocery store
Albertsons grocery store

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Union leaders in Southern California are expected to announce Monday afternoon whether grocery store employees at stores like Ralph’s, Vons, Albertson’s and Pavilion’s will be going on strike against their employers. 

This comes after a vote last week by a number of branches of the United Food and Commercial Workers labor union, which represents grocery store workers in Southern and Central California. The union and representatives for the supermarkets are struggling to come to terms over a proposed new labor contract. Changes to healthcare plans and a 1 percent wage increase are among the major sticking points for the union.

If the union announces a strike, it would be the first time since 2003-2004 that a strike of this size has been authorized. Shoppers today will undoubtedly have more choices for grocery shopping than they did 16 years ago, if there is a strike, but there will still be ripple effects felt across the industry, both on the side of grocers and their employees as well as the average shopper.

If you were a grocery store employee, union member, or just a shopper at one of the stores impacted by the strike in 2003-2004, what are your memories of its impact? How did it change the supermarket landscape in California? Did it change the way you shop for groceries? Join the conversation at 866-892-5722. 

For more background from AirTalk on the strike and what has led up to this point, listen to our primer segment from last week here.


James Peltz, business writer for The Los Angeles Times who’s been following the story and also covered the 2003-04 strike; he tweets @PeltzLATimes

Phil Lempert, a supermarket and consumer behavior analyst with the Santa Monica-based publication; he tweets @PhilLempert