Impact of Supermarket Strike Disputed
A strike that has affected seven Southern California supermarket chains concluded its first week Monday with no resolution in sight.
No negotiations were held Monday and none were scheduled for today. There has been no bargaining since talks broke off Saturday night.
Representatives of striking meat cutters and Teamsters said they had no contact with negotiators for the Food Employers Council, the bargaining agent for the markets, or federal mediator Frank Allen, who has been supervising the talks.
David Willauer, a spokesman for the employers, said the council was waiting for a written response from the Teamsters to a proposal the group made to the union Friday on the thorny issue of subcontracting work now done by union members.
Meanwhile, Dan Swinton, a spokesman for the striking unions, asserted that the strike had severely curtailed business at Vons markets, the strikers’ initial target. That was flatly disputed by Dan Granger, vice president of marketing for Vons, which has 164 stores in Southern California.
“We’re estimating, following a poll of six counties, that Vons has lost conservatively $15 million and it could be as high as $24 million,” Swinton said. He said the estimate was based on discussions with union officials in six counties where stores are being picketed.
Swinton said that a typical Vons store did $300,000 a week business and that business typically was off 50% during the first week of the strike.
“That’s absolutely crazy,” Granger replied.
He acknowledged that the stores had suffered some loss of business, but Granger stressed that part of the decline was normal for the second week of the month. He said store business normally declines 6% to 7% from the first week to the second week of the month.
The other chains affected by the strike are Albertson’s, Alpha Beta, Hughes, Lucky, Ralphs and Safeway, which have locked out employees who are members of the striking unions in retaliation for the walkout at Vons.
Union members also are picketing about 30 Safeway stores in the Southland.