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Supermarket Talks to Continue Today

Times Staff Writer

Union and supermarket negotiators met for the seventh straight day Tuesday, marking the longest stretch of bargaining since the regional grocery strike began more than four months ago.

Mediator Peter J. Hurtgen said he expected talks to continue today. Hurtgen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, called the continued discussions “promising” but provided no further comment.

As in past mediated sessions, the parties agreed not to discuss details of the negotiations, which are being held in an undisclosed location in Southern California.

Going into the latest round of negotiations, both sides said they remained far apart on healthcare and on wages and benefits for new hires.

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Kroger Co.'s Ralphs, Safeway Inc.'s Vons and Pavilions and Albertsons Inc. are bargaining jointly with seven locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers union. About 59,000 workers from 852 stores in Southern and Central California have been sidelined by the work stoppage, which began with an Oct. 11 strike against Vons and Pavilions.

Ralphs and Albertsons stores locked out their union workers the next day.

The labor dispute has cost the grocers more than $1 billion in lost sales, and strike benefits paid to union members have drained the treasuries of the UFCW locals in the contract area.


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