LOS ANGELES -- The contract between three Southern California chains and seven locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union was scheduled to expire at midnight last night, but the two sides were expected to continue negotiations. A spokeswoman for the employers said only Albertsons, which is owned by Supervalu, has met with all seven locals -- for 30 minutes each -- while Kroger-owned Ralphs and Safeway-owned Vons have each met with only a single union local since mid-January. The spokeswoman said talks would continue beyond the expiration of the contract, although no talks were scheduled through the weekend, she told SN. According to a spokesman for one of the UFCW locals, the only issues that have been discussed so far related to health and welfare and pension. Each of the three chains is meeting with each of the seven locals separately.
-- Elliot Zwiebach