The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union will ask its members to boycott Safeway Inc-owned supermarkets in North America to support 70,000 grocery clerks who have been striking for more than two months in Southern California.
ÒWe want to empty those stores,Ó said Doug Dority, UFCW international president. ÒWe want to make sure these cash registers are empty.Ó Safeway officials said they donÕt believe the boycott will affect the dispute.
Since October 11, grocery clerks have been on strike or were locked out at nearly 860 RalphÕs, AlbertsonÕs, Vons, and Pavilion stores in Southern California. Safeway owns the Vons and Pavilion chains. The cost of health care coverage is the main sticking point between the sides.
Negotiations are set to resume December 19.
According to the UFCW, the grocery firms have pared $1.08 an hour from their proposed contribution to health care premiums.
The chains contend that they no longer want to absorb all costs of maintaining health care benefits. They claim to be under pressure from Wal-Mart, Costco, and other supermarket firms that donÕt contribute as much to employee benefits.