These days, it can be difficult for families to make ends meet. Most people expect that if they work full time, they should be able to make enough money to provide for themselves and their loved ones. However, employees across industries report that higher costs of living and stagnant wages make that difficult. Some say that their employers are not properly compensating them for their work, by not paying them for hours worked or not providing them with proper meal and rest breaks. This is why grocery workers in Southern California are considering a strike.
Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union are very close to approving a strike that would affect several thousand workers. Representatives say that the corporations who own three large grocery chains -- Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons -- are taking in huge profits and enjoying significant tax cuts without providing adequate raises to employees. They say that employees have to work more than one job to take care of themselves and their loved ones, which they don't believe should be necessary.
The store owners have proposed raises that would equal less than 1%, but the unions say that is not enough, since the cost of living has gone up by 3% since the last strike in 2004. The L.A. County Federation of Labor has decided to support the union workers efforts should they decide to take to the picket line. Talks are set to resume in the near future.
Though organizing a strike may be the right choice in many scenarios, it isn't one that is feasible for everyone. Some employees here in California who feel they have not been paid proper wages may want to pursue civil litigation. Wage and hour claims can result in positive outcomes that will help workers care for the people they love, and they have every right to consider doing so.