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View More Press Releases by Albertsons, Ralphs, Vons

Press release:

Joint Statement from Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons Regarding Labor Negotiations

Issued by: Albertsons, Ralphs, Vons

Date: Oct. 23, 2003

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 22, 2003--The following is a joint statement from Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons regarding labor negotiations:

The union representing Southern California grocery workers continued its campaign of confusion today. The union leaders should spend their time developing solutions that recognize the intense competitive pressures and skyrocketing health care costs the companies face.

Before the strike began, our companies put forward a very good offer that the union leadership rejected out of hand. Since then, the union has misrepresented our proposal and appears determined to continue down the strike path. The union's continued rhetoric includes statements that are patently untrue. Here are the facts:

  • We offered to increase our contribution to current employees' health care coverage by up to 40 percent over three years -- from the current $667 now being paid to an average of more than $932 per month for health care benefits for each current full-time employee -- that is nearly 70 percent more than the national average.(1)

  • We proposed to the union that our current employees, who pay no portion of their health care premium now, share a small portion of the costs of that coverage -- just $5 a week for individuals or $10-$15 a week for families, which is far below what most employers require.

  • More than 90 percent of Americans today already pay part of their health care premium; the national average is $42 per month for individual coverage and $201 per month for family coverage -- two to three times the amount we have asked of our employees.

  • In the face of skyrocketing health care costs, virtually all employers conduct a periodic review of benefits to ensure they are controlling costs while providing their employees with quality health care.

  • The union's speculation of how our proposal could impact the health plan five or 10 years from now is simply that -- worst-case scenario speculation. Based on our extensive research and consultation with health care insurance experts, we are confident that with modest changes in the plan, including a small employee contribution to health care premiums, we will continue to deliver some of the best health care coverage in the nation to our current employees.

  • The companies must -- over time -- control health care costs if we are to remain competitive. Our proposal for a second tier of health care coverage for future employees is designed to accomplish that goal, while still providing health care coverage to all eligible employees. Coverage for existing employees will remain among the best and most comprehensive in the nation. Our proposed contribution level for new hires will be competitive with what Southern California retailers offer their employees today.

If the union claims this funding proposal will fall far short in coverage for employees, why has this very same union recently recommended -- and the employees voted and accepted -- a health care proposal that has an hourly contribution of $3.38 for comprehensive coverage versus the $3.85 the companies are currently paying per hour for current employees?

Instead of holding press conferences like it did today, the union should devote its time and energy to bargaining for a new agreement so that this dispute will end, and they should spend their time organizing non-union competition like Wal-Mart.

(1) Kaiser Family Foundation 2003 Annual Health Benefits Survey indicates that a typical family health insurance policy now costs $9,068 ($755.67/month), with employers paying 73% ($551.64/month).

Stacia Levenfeld, Albertsons, 510-678-5444
Terry O'Neil, Ralphs, 310-884-4680
Sandra Calderon, Vons, 626-821-7291

View More Press Releases by Albertsons, Ralphs, Vons

This is a press release issued by the company named above. BenefitsLink is not the author. Use of any information obtained from this release is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficacy, and timeliness. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by BenefitsLink.

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