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Agreement reached in grocery workers' contract negotiations

A potential strike by thousands of Southern California grocery store workers may have been averted. The worker’s union reached a tentative agreement with the major grocery chains. KPBS reporter Alexander Nguyen has the details.

A tentative agreement was reached Monday in negotiations between the union representing Southern California grocery workers and stores including Ralphs and Vons/Pavilions/Albertsons, avoiding a potential strike.

"Once our members have had an opportunity to review and vote, we will release more information on this historic and transformational deal. Nothing is final until our members decide," a statement from the seven United Food and Commercial Workers International Union locals representing the workers said.

"We are incredibly proud of our essential grocery members, whose hard work and determination to stand together and willingness to fight for what they deserve, has made this agreement possible."


Ralphs "was pleased that this agreement allows us to put more money in our associates' paychecks and secures health care and pension plans," its vice president of operations, Robert Branton, said in a statement.

Terms of the agreement were not released.

Union officials said they had been seeking a $5-per-hour wage hike, phased in over the next three years, along with bolstered safety standards and "adequate scheduling and hours."

The stores had offered annual 60-cent-per-hour wage increases over the next three years, totaling $1.80.

A three-year labor contract between the unionized grocery workers and Southern California supermarkets expired March 7. Employees continued to work under the terms of the previous contract.


Members of seven UFCW locals between Central California and the Mexico border had voted "overwhelmingly" last month to authorize a strike.