SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – As unionized grocer workers vote whether to strike in Southern California, some local grocery workers like Esther Lopez are ready to face a battle that they've gone through before.
"You know what, it brings back all of the old memories,” said Lopez, who participated in the 2003 strike and has been a Ralphs employee for 32 years. "It's really upsetting to realize that they don't give us what we have earned; you know, a living wage. We're still doing what we did 20 years ago, still fighting for a living wage, to be able to survive in this economy."
The world is a different place than it was during the grocers union workers' 2003 strike, and albeit reeling from a global pandemic.
But the vote on whether Southern California grocery workers from Ralphs, Vons, and Albertsons should strike is front and center.
Local union president Todd Walters of UFCW Local 135 also participated in the '03 strike. He says it's upsetting to be signing a similar song all of these later.
"We've given up pay raises in the last 20 years to keep our health insurance and pension intact and fought really hard for that. And this is the first contract since I can't remember that that's not the issue. The issue is pay,” Walters said.
As we wait to learn if the strike happens, there's hope for similarity doesn't happen, another months long strike.
"I hope there's no strike. It's not good for anybody nor for the company, not for us,” Lopez said.