Warehouse workers at a second Smart & Final distribution center in California have voted for union representation by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Three hundred associates at Smart & Final’s Riverside facility voted to join Teamsters Local 630 in Los Angeles, Teamsters reported on Friday. The union said the vote in favor of representation came by a 4-1 margin.
Teamsters Local 630 had added Smart & Final employees to its membership ranks earlier this year. In February, more than 300 staff at the warehouse-style grocer’s Commerce, California, distribution center voted to join the union.
“I want to congratulate workers at Smart & Final in Riverside for taking a courageous stand and flexing their collective muscle to elect Local 630 as their representative. These workers chose to stand in unity with their sisters and brothers at Smart & Final in Commerce, California,” Lou Villalvazo, secretary-treasurer at Teamsters Local 630 and Southwest food chair for Teamsters Joint Council 42, said in a statement. “Now it’s time for Smart & Final to respect their voices by negotiating a fair contract.”
Smart & Final couldn’t immediately be reached by Winsight Grocery Business for comment on the Riverside DC union vote.
With contract talks now in the offing, Smart & Final associates at the Riverside warehouse seek increased job security and wages, more-consistent standards, better health care coverage, a path to retirement and stronger safety measures, among other workplace improvements, Teamsters reported.
“We need fair treatment, improved working conditions, better pay and enhanced benefits,” according to Roberto Cruz, a 15-year Smart & Final warehouse worker at the Riverside DC. “We took up the mantle and stood up for our rights knowing that the union will empower us and bring positive change.”
Overall, Smart & Final operates 253 Smart & Final Extra! and Smart & Final warehouse-style grocery stores in California, Nevada and Arizona. The Commerce-based chain was acquired by Bodega Latina Corp. (now Chedraui USA), a subsidiary of Mexican retailer Grupo Comercial Chedraui, in a $620 million deal in 2021.
“Smart & Final workers were determined to win a better future, and I applaud them for their strength and unity throughout this hard-fought organizing campaign,” stated Tom Erickson, director of the Teamsters warehouse division. “Congratulations to the entire team at Local 630 for leading the organizing effort and winning big at this company for the second time this year.”
Earlier this month, Smart & Final parent Chedraui USA unveiled plans to build a 1.4 million-square-foot distribution center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. The company said the new facility will boost its Southern California distribution and warehouse capacity by 50%, enable the integration of five smaller DCs throughout the region and create new distribution jobs.