Teamsters truck drivers and warehouse workers went on strike Monday against Lucky Stores food distribution centers that serve the supermarket chain’s retail stores from Fresno to the Oregon border.
The strike, which began just after midnight, follows Sunday’s rejection by union locals in Oakland, Vallejo and Sacramento of a tentative settlement negotiated by union and industry representatives, said Dave Cox, executive director of the Food Employers Council.
He said the locals represent about 1,200 workers at Lucky’s distribution centers in San Leandro, Vacaville and Sacramento. They supply most of the food to about 300 supermarkets in Northern and Central California, he said.
The vote to reject the proposed two-year contract was 884 to 348, said Casey Sawyer, chairman of the Teamsters negotiating committee. He said union negotiators had advised members that the contract was the best available without a strike.
Sawyer said the proposed contract would freeze wages for 18 months and then reduce them by between $1.75 and $2.10 an hour from their present level of $11 to $16 an hour. It would also take away three holidays, seven days of sick leave and other benefits, he said.
The Teamsters were negotiating jointly with Lucky and Safeway stores. Although the strike is only against Lucky, Cox said Safeway may respond by locking out Teamsters workers at its Northern California distribution centers in Richmond and Fremont.