Labor negotiations were set to reach a climax over the weekend in some parts of the country, while talks in other regions were being extended beyond the contract expiration dates.
One of the big question marks was in New Jersey, where the contract between A&P and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 464A was set to expire at midnight Saturday. John Niccollai, president of the local, told SN late last week the union hoped to reach an agreement before the expiration, "or else we'll start getting ready for a strike."
The contract covers 8,500 union members at stores in New Jersey and metropolitan New York. A federal mediator joined the talks last week.
In Seattle, talks between the industry and four UFCW locals were expected to be extended for another week, barring a major breakdown in negotiations over the weekend, local sources indicated. Negotiations there, which also include a federal mediator, have been extended since the contract expired May 2 covering 17,000 union members at Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway and hundreds of smaller operators who have agreed to accept the terms the larger chains negotiate.
In Northern California, negotiators for three chains and 19,000 members of UFCW Local 588 agreed to extend talks beyond Sunday's contract expiration date. The employers in those talks include Albertsons, Safeway and, negotiating separately, Raley's, while several smaller operators have agreed to accept whatever terms the larger chains negotiate.
In Connecticut, members of UFCW Local 371 employed at three units of Adam's Super Food Stores, Cheshire, Conn., have agreed to extend their talks on a week-to-week basis since the contract expired July 12. Spokesmen for both sides told SN the union has agreed to meet with an outside insurance provider and the administrator of a proposed 401(k) plan later this week.
In Southern California, talks between seven UFCW locals and Food 4 Less, a Kroger division, continued on a contract that has been extended since it expired Feb. 28. A candlelight vigil and rally "against corporate greed" was scheduled outside a Food 4 Less store in Anaheim last Thursday.