The union letter claims Albertson’s has refused to improve health benefits, grant “respectable” wage increases, or eliminate the two-tier wage structure. Union leaders decided to target Albertson’s because a strike at its stores would have the greatest impact, Shimpock said.Stephanie Martin, a spokeswoman for Albertson’s, declined to comment. [email protected] (818)713-3735 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Union leaders representing some 70,000 grocery workers in Southern California called for a strike authorization vote Sunday against Alberton’s, claiming two months of bargaining has been fruitless. A yes vote means union members employed by Alberton’s could strike after a three-week contract extension expires April 9, but not before because a strike is prohibited under the terms of the contract, according to Mike Shimpock, a spokesman hired by the unions. “Only a strong strike vote will convince your employer to make a fair contract offer,” said a letter posted on the Web site of the United Food and Commerical Workers Union 324. Adena Tessler, a spokeswoman hired to represent Albertson’s, Vons, and Ralphs, said nobody wins in a strike. She called a strike vote “irresponsible.” “It is disturbing that the unions are considering the possibility of a strike at this stage in the negotiations,” Tessler said in a prepared statement. Planning a strike vote completely changes the tenor of the bargaining process, said Jack Kyser, chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. “It seemed to be going very smoothly and now this comes,” Kyser said. “It could be that the union feels things are slipping away from them.” Three years ago negotiations fell apart, leading to a 139-day strike – one of the longest in the nation’s history. Both parties eventually agreed to a two-tier system that gives more benefits and pay to veteran workers than to new hires. Unions have demanded the two-tier system be dismantled in the new contract, claiming it is unfair and leads to high turnover. But the chains say the system is working just fine and is common in other markets.
165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LA MIRADA – City Hall is losing two top managers – Assistant City Manager John DiMario and Public Safety Manager Ric Welch. DiMario had been with the city full-time since 1989. He grew up in La Mirada, began his career with the city as a part-time maintenance worker, and was hired full-time in 1989 as an administrator’s aide in the Community Resources Department. He became assistant city manager in 2001, taking charge of community development, including building, planning and redevelopment. His last day with the city was Friday. He said he made a “personal decision” to leave. City Manager Andrea Travis said DiMario told her he planned to pursue other, unspecified interests. “It’s time to move on,” DiMario said. “It’s been great in La Mirada,” he added. “I have fond memories of all the time I had there. There are great people there.” He said he plans to continue in government work and is currently looking for a job. Welch, whose last day with the city will be Friday, has found a new job as parks director for the Jurupa Community Services District in unincorporated Riverside. “It’s just a better offer,” said Welch, who lives in unincorporated Eastvale, near Riverside. “It’s closer to home. It’s in my area of expertise.” For more on this story, pick up tomorrow’s Whittier Daily News.