Extension is renewed in grocery contract talks


With the help of a federal mediator, the union that represents 65,000 Southern California grocery workers and the three major supermarket chains agreed to a second extension to a contract that was set to expire two weeks ago. This latest extension will last until April 9. It will run day to day after that and will have a 72-hour notice-of-cancellation clause that can be invoked by either party.

The temporary pact between seven United Food and Commercial Workers union locals and Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons will for now prevent the type of strike and lockout that disrupted grocery shopping at the stores when the last contract expired in October 2003. As of Monday, the two sides were trying to reach agreement on how much money the chains would contribute to healthcare benefits.


Jerry Hirsch