LOS ANGELES — Talks are scheduled to resume today between seven locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and the three major supermarket employers in Southern California — Supervalu-owned Albertsons, Kroger-owned Ralphs and Safeway-owned Vons.
Talks were suspended at the end of April pending the call of a federal mediator — Scott Beckenbaugh, the same mediator who was called in to help with negotiations in 2007.
Industry sources said Beckenbaugh was likely to meet separately today with each side "to get a vision of where each one is," one observer told SN. Talks are scheduled to run through the end of the week, though the mediator can ask both sides to continue meeting if there are signs of progress, the observer said. Additional talks are scheduled next week for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The four-year contract between the UFCW and the employers — covering approximately 62,000 workers — expired March 6. The contract has been extended on a day-to-day basis since March 30.
Union members voted last month 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.