More than 3,500 unionized grocery store employees at Save Mart and Lucky supermarkets are expected to strike Saturday after a deal to increase wages and benefits in ongoing contract negotiations was dropped, according to union representatives.
The unions representing the workers, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Locals 5 and 648, have been bargaining for new contracts with Save Mart Corporation, which own both grocery store franchises, since late last year.
According to a statement released by Local 5 President John Nunes on Wednesday, a tentative agreement had been reached but was pulled off the table by Save Mart late last week. The planned strike was previously authorized by a 99 percent margin.
The unions, which represent nearly 30,000 grocery workers throughout Northern California and some 4,000 workers at Bay Area Lucky stores, have also filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
“We had an agreement and an historic one at that, with well-deserved significant wage increases and a restoration of concessions that workers accepted to return the company to financial stability after the great recession,” said Nunes. “Reneging on the deal at the last minute is not only wrong but it’s a classic case of illegal bad faith bargaining that our members will not stand for.”
Two Lucky supermarkets currently operate in San Francisco, on Sloat Boulevard and Fulton Avenue.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Lucky spokesperson Stacia Levenfeld said that the company’s leadership is “perplexed as to why the union is protesting” and that it “has not walked away from a deal.”
“Allegations that Lucky has walked away from the table are completely false. When we reached the end of our negotiation session with the union last week, we let them know that we needed to present the contract, as negotiated, to our Board of Directors, and what the timeline for that would be,” said Levenfeld. “We have worked long and hard to make sure that this a solid contract for our team members. All we have asked for is some time to convene our board and gain their approval.”
This story has been updated to include a statement from Lucky Supermarkets.