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On July 15, more than 200 people rallied in a Vons parking lot in Serra Mesa in support of grocery workers.

The local chapter of the United Food & Commercial Workers and the San Diego Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice organized the demonstration. The UFCW is in contract negotiations with Vons, Albertsons, and Ralphs. Health care has been a sticking point.

A man named Paul, who said he has been a Vons employee for five years, told the crowd that the health plan currently offered by management would leave employees like him on the hook for up to $11,000 in out-of-pocket medical costs each year.

Another man with 30 years' experience as a grocer urged people to support workers like him in letters to CEOs of the grocery chains and in conversations with store managers. “Grocery workers need your help,” he said.

Members of the audience included dozens of members of a range of unions, including groups of laborers, home-care workers, and painters. UFCW members authorized a strike months ago, but so far, the union has not called one.

State assemblyman Marty Block encouraged grocery employees to walk the line if the call goes out. “The entire assembly — at least the Democrats — are with you,” Block said.

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