Supermarkets: union chief coerced workers

Kroger, Safeway, and AlbertsonÕs have accused a union leader of threatening employees who sought to work for the supermarkets during an ongoing strike. The companies filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

About 70,000 supermarket workers in Southern California have been on strike or locked out since October 11, mostly over health care benefits.

The supermarkets contend that Greg Conger, president of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 324, has sent letters to Òcoerce and threatenÓ workers to prevent them from working during the strike.

Union spokeswoman Ellen Anreder said, ÒIt sounds like the act of desperate companies to me.Ó

Members of seven UFCW local unions on strike against Safeway/Vons in Southern CaliforniaÑand locked out by AlbertsonÕs and Kroger/RalphsÑrecently extended picket lines to Safeway/Vons stores in Northern California.

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