Solar project complete at SBIA

A 632-kilowatt photovoltaic solar project at San Bernardino International Airport, a Texas solar firm reported.

Solar panel manufacturer Phono Solar of Woodlands, Tex. produced nearly 2,700 panels for the $2.8 million project. Premier Solar of Redlands developed the solar installation for the airport, and the project also included a new parking structure.

Riverside-based GreenTech distributed the panels for Phono Solar.

Live energy generation data from the SBIA project can be viewed online at http://live.deckmonitoring.com/?id=sbiaa_terminal_pv.

Highland eatery Mi Cocina to move to San Manuel Village

Mi Cocina, a Mexican restaurant in Highland, is scheduled to hold a grand opening May 2 at its new location at San Manuel Village, which is also in Highland.

The restaurant has previously done business north of the Base Line and Church Street intersection in eastern Highland.

The San Manual Band of Mission Indians’ development unit, Victoria Development LLC, developed the San Manuel Village as a retail and commercial center to diversify their economic interests beyond San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino.

Hampton Inn & Suites, the development’s key tenant, opened at the center in September 2008.

Inland Community Bank announces 1Q results

ICB Financial, parent company of Inland Community Bank, reported a $50,000 profit during the year’s first quarter.

That number profit compares with a $187,000 profit during the first three months of 2010.
ICB Financial CEO James S. Cooper wrote in a letter to shareholders that “community banking in the area is still recovering slowly from the business downturn that began in 2007.”

ICB Financial “started off the first quarter of 2011 with a focus on consolidation, strategic retrenchment, and emphasis on the sound business principles that have been the foundation of our success during the past 21 years.”

ICB Financial also reported having about $256 million in total assets during the first quarter of 2011, compared with nearly $284 million during the same period last year. The banking firm classified 5.03 percent of those assets as nonperforming at the end of March 31, up from the 3.35 percent figure one year prior.

ICB Financial’s provisions for loan and lease losses stood at $150,000 at the end of 2011′s first quarter, less than the $263,000 one year previous.

The bank’s total risk-based capital ratio at March 31, was 18.75 percent, compared to 15.25 percent at year-end 2010. A 10 percent ratio is the FDIC’s minimum benchmark for a “well capitalized” institution.

ICB Financial’s report is here.

Union leader: Talks with grocers to continue

Last week’s strike authorization vote does not mean a work stoppage at Southern California grocery stores is imminent, a union leader said.

“We go back into negotiations tomorrow,” said Connie Leyva, president of Union of Food and Commercial Workers Local 1428.

Talks are expected to continue through through this week and the next two weeks, added Leyva, who said she was hopeful a strike could be averted.

UFCW Local 1428 represents grocery workers in the Pomona and Claremont areas. Union members throughout Southern California voted last Thursday to authorize a strike if negotiations with Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons fail to produce a new collective bargaining agreement.

The union is in separate negotiations with Stater Bros. Markets, which is based in San Bernardino.

The UFCW’s Southern California locals last went on strike against Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons in 2003-04. The unions and grocers experienced a prolonged negotiations process in 2007, but succeeded in avoiding a work stoppage.

Supermarket workers authorize strike, talks to continue

The members of seven local UFCW unions voted to authorize a strike if negotiators fail to reach a collective bargaining agreement with three supermarket chains.

“Different locals have had different results, but in the end, it was in the 90th percentile,” UFCW spokeswoman Ellen Anreder said Friday.

The vote authorizes negotiators to call a strike against Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons. The UFCW also represents Stater Bros. employees, but the union is in separate negotiations with the San Bernardino-based chain.

Vons and Ralphs representatives said they could not comment beyond a written statement issued Thursday:

Asking for strike authorization is a common tactic in negotiations and does not necessarily mean a strike will be called. Getting sidetracked by these tactics will only delay our ability to reach an agreement on a fair contract for our associates. The real work towards getting a fair contract will happen at the negotiating table and we hope that’s where the union leadership will focus its attention as we return to bargaining next week.

Stater Bros. chairman Jack Brown said his company’s negotiators report directly to him on contract negotiations. He and others reached for comment said they could not disclose any specific sticking points that may be hindering an agreement.

Asked if he expects to reach a deal soon, Brown simply said “We’re continuing to negotiate.”

The UFCW on one side and the triumvirate of Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons battled each other during a 141-day strike during 2003-04. The two sides managed to avoid a strike in 2007 after negotiations went on for four months beyond the expiration of their previous contract.

Grocery workers considering strike

UFCW leaders are counting votes that would give grocery union leaders authorization to go on strike against Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons.

The Pasadena Star-News, the Sun and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin’s sister paper, reported that members of UFCW Local 770 “ members “overwhelmingly” approved giving their contract negotiators the option to call a strike if necessary.”

UFCW spokeswoman Ellen Anreder said the locals representing workers as far north as Mono County and as far south as the Mexican border. She emphasized that a “yes” vote would not mean the union would immediately go on strike, but union negotiators would have that option.

Anreder said she was not authorized to elaborate on the sticking point between union and grocery chain negotiators.

The two sides have been in negotiations since February. Albertsons, Ralphs and Von’s issued the following joint statement:

“Asking for strike authorization is a common tactic in negotiations and does not necessarily mean a strike will be called. Getting sidetracked by these tactics will only delay our ability to reach an agreement on a fair contract for our associates. The real work towards getting a fair contract will happen at the negotiating table and we hope that’s where the union leadership will focus its attention as we return to bargaining next week.”