Ralphs will close all of its stores if its employees decide to go on strike, the chain announced Friday. Additionally, Albertsons representatives said the supermarket will close up to 100 stores for part or all of the strike.
Ralphs will reopen its stores on a case-by-case basis, Ralphs Vice President of Public Relations Kendra Doyel told ABC.
On Thursday, the United Food and Commercial Workers union issued a required 72-hour notice canceling its contract extension, which paves the way for a strike. The union overwhelmingly voted in August to authorize a strike.
The current dispute centers around how much the three major supermarket chains—Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons—will contribute to a health-care account. Without increased contributions, the account will go bankrupt within 16 months, according to union officials.
An agreement on wages has not been reached, either.
During the 2003-04 strike, all three chains kept their stores open, which cost them an estimated $1.5 billion.
"One of the lessons we learned during the 2003-04 labor dispute is that it doesn't make good business sense to try to operate all our stores during a strike," Albertsons, which has three locations in Redondo Beach, said in a statement.
The earlier strike also wiped out the savings of many of the grocery employees.
City News Service contributed to this report.