UFCW Authorizes Strike: How to Eat Well Without Crossing the Picket Lines

The employees in the United Food and Commercial Workers locals across Southern California have voted to authorize a strike. While they're not off the job quite yet, they've voted to reject the latest proposal submitted by Albertsons, Vons and Ralphs. Sound familiar?

The contract negotiated after the last strike in 2003-2004 expired in March and this time the issue is healthcare (pay and pensions were negotiated and agreed upon). If the supermarkets don't give in, the soonest the workers would walk off the job is three days after an immediate strike vote. A better offer seems unlikely; Vons stores have signs up advertising jobs for scabs people with selective vision who can't see t-shirted striking workers.

The same options that existed in 2003 exist now; if you don't want to cross picket lines to shop, you can still eat as well or even better, and more cheaply, by shopping elsewhere. Here are five options for you after the food you stock up on between now and Thursday runs out.

1. The Latino Way

The ceviche bar at a Northgate market
The ceviche bar at a Northgate market

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Orange County is awash in large, clean, well-stocked supermarkets catering to specific demographics. While they may cater to specific ethnicities, it's perfectly possible to do a regular supermarket run and it will probably be cheaper. Nearly every city has at least one Mexican or Latino market. While Northgate Market and El Super are the best-known chains, Anaheim and Santa Ana's El Metate markets are my favorite; South County folks can head to one of the Tula Markets in Lake Forest or El Nopal in San Juan Capistrano.

2. The Asian Way

There are 99 Ranch markets (Taiwanese) in Irvine, Anaheim and Fountain Valley and huge Korean markets such as H-Mart and Han Nam Chain in Irvine, Garden Grove, Stanton, Anaheim and Buena Park--a bonus of shopping at Korean markets is that meat, especially beef, is high quality and far cheaper than even Stater Bros. Central County can shop at Mitsuwa, Ebisu or Marukai (though Marukai has a small membership fee) Japanese markets, or Vietnamese markets such as Thuan Phat or ABC in Little Saigon.

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