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Grocery store and labor union continue contract talks

March 31, 2011 |  6:03 pm

Striker and Santa As negotiations continue between the grocery workers union and Southern California’s three leading supermarket chains, both sides have agreed to automatically renew their main labor contract day by day -– although either side can cancel the contract with 72 hours' notice.

The contract, which had already been given a  monthlong extension, had been set to expire Thursday night.

In addition, both sides have scheduled six more days of negotiations through mid-April.

Labor and grocery officials declined to comment Thursday on the issues being negotiated. Previously, officials from both sides said the talks included employee wages, healthcare benefits and pensions.

The contract covers about 62,000 Southern California grocery workers at Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons/Pavilions stores. The workers are covered under a contract reached in 2007 with seven United Food and Commercial Workers locals.

According to the website for UFCW Local 770 in Los Angeles, the grocery chains recently presented the unions with several proposed changes to the current contract. The changes include reducing holiday pay and cutting certain overtime provisions for part-time and full-time workers, according to the site.

The local apparently was less than pleased with the offer, saying in a statement that the retailers “have presented numerous takeaway proposals that they know we cannot agree to as another way to stall these negotiations.”

-- P.J. Huffstutter

Photo: A grocery worker on strike in Oxnard in 2003. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times