Seven local grocery store unions have authorized a vote to strike after contract negotiations with Southern California grocery store chains have failed. 

A vote will take place from March 21 through March 23 in determining whether a strike would begin. According to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 770, the contract at over 500 stores expired on March 6 for about 60,000 Southern California grocery store workers. 

According to the union representing grocery store workers in San Diego and Imperial Valley, UFCW 135, while the contract has expired, “all terms and conditions of the contract remain in effect.

Negotiations have been ongoing since January to increase wages and the minimum number of hours that part-time employees can work.

Walk-through voting will take place from 7 A.M. until 7 P.M at three locations in Chula Vista, Escondido, and San Diego, according to the UFCW Local 135 site. 

Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions said in a statement the company is committed to reaching a collaborative agreement with the union “to ensure that we reach an agreement that is fair to our employees, good for our customers, and allows Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions to remain competitive in the Southern California market.”

Ralphs said the company remains focused on reaching a deal with the union. 

The company issued a statement Thursday saying, "A strike authorization vote doesn't mean a strike will happen, but it does create unnecessary concern for our associates and communities at a time when we should be coming together in good faith bargaining to find solutions and compromise.”

Southern California grocery store workers walked off the job in 2003-04 over a contract dispute, and the strike lasted 141 days, costing supermarket change as much as $2 billion, with the workers losing $300 million in wages according to analysts. 

Grocery store workers voted to authorize a strike in 2019, but negotiations continued for two months, and a labor deal was eventually reached. 

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