March 7, 2014
As you know, Vons, along with representatives of Albertsons and Ralphs, have been meeting with the Southern California UFCW Locals for the last month in order to negotiate a new contract covering you and our stores throughout Southern California. We met with the Locals on February 7th and again on February 14th to receive and then discuss the Locals’ opening proposals. Yesterday, March 6th, we met with the Locals again and presented them with the initial Employer proposals. We currently have additional negotiating sessions scheduled for March 18, 19 and 24 and April 1, 2, 9 and 10.
As is the case in most negotiations, we expect our next few bargaining sessions will focus primarily on discussing proposals from both sides dealing with store operational issues, contract language and other general working conditions. Particularly in negotiations like these, where we are all facing a very competitive environment due to the ever growing number of low-cost non-union discounters, mass merchants and drug retailers all expanding their presence in the retail food business, these initial discussions are important and will set the tone for the rest of our negotiations.
As in the past, Vons will seriously consider legitimate issues raised by the Locals and we expect the Locals to do the same in considering legitimate issues put forth by the Employers. We have successfully addressed similar issues in other negotiations all across the country over the last few years and, with some hard work by both sides, we fully expect to be able to do the same thing here in Southern California.
In the meantime, we encourage everyone to stay focused on serving and taking care of our customers. Satisfying all of our customers each and every time they visit our stores must remain our number one priority during this critical time.
Thank you for all you are doing every day to make Vons a great place for our customers to shop.