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  • Strategic Resource Group

Grocery workers get double-digit pay raises in new contract

Updated: Jun 1

Margot Roosevelt of the LOS ANGELES TIMES interviewed Burt Flickinger about a three-year contract giving 47,000 employees at 540 Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores from San Diego to San Luis Obispo their biggest pay raises in decades:

“This is the best contract for the employees in 20 years, but also for the companies,” said Burt Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, a top retail consulting firm. “We have the most acute worker shortage since World War II. Higher wages and benefits are an investment in worker loyalty and productivity.”

In 25 years, union membership in Southern California’s grocery industry has dropped from 90% to about 35% as nonunion big-box stores expanded into food, he said. The new UFCW contract will help counter nonunion competition, Flickinger said.

“Walmart and Target are running out of stocks in key categories because they don’t have enough workers at stores or warehouses. With the high cost of living in Southern California, this contract could bring back experienced workers to union stores — people who retired early because of COVID and now can’t pay their bills.”

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