LOS ANGELES — Negotiations on a new Southern California labor contract are scheduled to continue through the next couple of weeks, though a final agreement could take all summer to negotiate, a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union told SN Thursday.
"But they can't go much longer than that because we're running down our health and welfare reserves," he pointed out.
The UFCW and representatives of the area’s three major employers — Supervalu-owned Albertsons, Kroger-owned Ralphs and Safeway-owned Vons — have been meeting under the guidance of a federal mediator for the last three weeks, “and he's helping us take baby steps forward in some areas neither side wanted to go, though we are still far from any agreement,” the union official said.
The four-year contract between the UFCW and the employers — covering approximately 62,000 workers — expired March 6 and has been extended on a day-to-day basis since March 30.
Union members voted in April to authorize their negotiators to call a strike if they deem it necessary. The last strike-lockout here — in late 2003 and early 2004 — lasted 141 days.