Grocery Workers Fight For Pay!


This photo was taken outside of the Ralphs at the corner of Carson St. and Cherry Ave.

Arianna Garcia, Staff Reporter

Mar. 7, 2022 was the day that grocery workers in Long Beach announced their possible upcoming strike. The members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) decided that if a negotiation was not reached by Easter Sunday, the strike would begin. In the Long Beach Business Journal, it was found that approximately 1,000 workers throughout 12 common stores in our city feel like they are being underpaid for the work that they do. Some of these stores include Albertsons, Gelson’s, Pavilions, Ralphs, Stater Bros. and Vons stores. Although we are more affected by the strike in Long Beach, this possible strike is also spread throughout all of Southern California, including about 47,000 workers. 

SEGA sophomore Kenneth Heyl shared that he was not aware of the situation. He found the issue unfair and saddening. Another big concern for this strike is how it will affect food prices for the buyers. With the demanding raise, food prices could possibly rise from 2.5-3.5%. Kenneth’s opinion quickly changed. “I don’t want prices for protein bars to go up, I’m greedy,” he stated. 

Photo Courtesy of Charlie Hex: This photo is a clear depiction of what grocery workers are being sent.

The strike emerged when Ralphs and its union asked for a five dollar increase in the next three years and were denied. All they were offered in return was just below two dollars incremental increase over the next three years. Many workers found this insulting. Andrea Zinder, president of UFCW Local 324 who represents these 1,000 workers said in an interview with Fox News outside a rally, “It [the deal being offered] does not reflect what workers have been through. It does not reflect the fact that Ralphs has made tremendous profits.” This rally was held in Long Beach on Mar. 15 where the union grocery workers and other community members marched outside of a Ralphs for more justified wages. According to the  “Will Orange County’s Grocery Workers Strike? Union Claims Unfair Labor Practices” made it clear that Ralphs profits have doubled during the pandemic so with this information is their 60 cent offer a year (a total of under two dollars in the three years) justified, or is a strike the right way to go?

A worker at Ralphs who would prefer to stay anonymous clarified that the strike is optional, but that the union is encouraging them to fight for better pay. He later added, “I definitely think we deserve a raise considering how things have gone up, we need at least a little bit more than what they are giving us.” The worker was unable to provide new insight on what is next, but be sure to stay updated on this evolving fight for justice.