Grocery store workers will take part in a rally at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug.1, in front of Ralphs Supermarket, 3601 E. Foothill Blvd.

The gathering is being held in solidarity with other supporters across Southern California who will be rallying for higher wages at other locations.

Currently, 60,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) are working without a contract at Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions grocery stores.

Pasadena has three Ralphs supermarkets, three Vons and two Pavilions.

The two sides are currently in contract negotiations. Grocery store owners tried to slash cashier’s pay by 25 percent and eliminate payouts on unused sick days, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.

“With a balanced approach, this agreement can be a win for everyone — our associates, our communities, and our company,” Ralphs President Mike Murphy wrote in a statement.

The union is asking for higher wages for its members, as well as better health coverage and pensions. It’s also taking aim at a two-tier system that places a lower cap on wages for food service workers in the deli and bakery departments.

The union voted to strike in June. The strike vote was supported by 96 percent of the union, but so far employees have not walked off the job.

In 2003, 70,000 employees of Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons picketed outside stores for four months. Support for the employees took a hit at that time after 14 major wildfires broke out across Southern California, including Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside counties. During the crisis, residents began stocking up on items, leaving the shelves near empty.

Eighty-six percent of union workers voted to ratify a contract that included affordable health care benefits for new and current workers with no weekly employee premiums in the first two years, and only nominal payments if needed in the third year.

Employee contributions of nearly $190 million were used to rebuild the health plan reserves and a combined pension fund for new hires and current employees.