At 8 a.m. on Feb. 6, a sizable space inside the enormous and newly remodeled Ralphs at Third Street and La Brea Avenue became the Hancock Park-La Brea neighborhood’s newest kosher market. As the Los Angeles High School Marching Band played, speeches were made ,and checks were presented to neighborhood schools, including Fairfax High School, John Burroughs Middle School and Yeshiva Aharon Yaakov Ohr Eliyahu. Meanwhile, men in kippot and women in sheitels (wigs), berets and scarves appeared proud, excited — and a little anxious.
From October 2003 to February 2004, workers at those three supermarket chains went out on strike to ensure affordable health care, as well as to protect their pensions and job security. It was the longest strike in the history of the supermarket industry, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers' Web site, and the first major strike of the 21st century.
As the Jewish community nears the end of Passover on April 9, the second contract extension between the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and Southern California's major supermarkets -- Supervalu Inc.'s Albertsons, Kroger Co.'s Ralphs and Safeway Inc.'s Vons -- is set to expire at midnight.