Supporters of Grocery Workers Rally in Marina Del Rey

The rally comes a day after the union cleared a barrier to calling a strike

By Jonathan Lloyd, Scott Weber, Jack Noyes and Toni Guinyard
|  Friday, Sep 16, 2011  |  Updated 11:10 AM PDT
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Local grocery store workers have authorized a strike to begin Monday. But it still might not happen.

Jesse Gary and David Gregory

Local grocery store workers have authorized a strike to begin Monday. But it still might not happen.

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Rally participants planned to walk from one grocery store to another Friday in Marina Del Rey in support of grocery workers after union members took another step toward a strike.

The rally was scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. at a Ralphs store on Lincoln Boulevard. Participants will walk to the Vons store on Glencoe Avenue.

The rally comes a day after the union representing the workers issued a notice of intent to cancel the current contract extenion. The 72-hour notice clears the way for a strike.

The notice does not mean workers will strike at that time, but does allow a strike to occur after the 72-hour window. The walkout could be delayed or averted if the two sides can agree on  company contributions to a health care benefits fund for employees.

“We’re ready to fight to preserve good jobs,” UFCW union leaders said in a statement. “We understand this is a tough economy, but we’re willing to stand up for workers everywhere being taken advantage of by profitable corporations."

Vons issued a statement late Thursday, expressing "disappointment" in the decision.

"The notice does not mean a strike is imminent or that a strike will necessarily occur at any point. The notice simply allows the union the ability to call a strike if they choose to do so. Vons and the other employers intend to remain focused on the negotiation process and urge the unions to do so the same," the Vons statement said.

Union members have been without a contract since March. The major sticking point continues to be health care funding.

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