first_imgIt is “increasingly unlikely” that negotiators for three supermarket operators and their Southern California workers will reach a contract deal in time to meet a deadline set by the employees’ union because labor talks have stalled, the grocers said Tuesday. Earlier this month, union negotiators set a noon Thursday deadline for reaching an acceptable contract deal with the employers – Supervalu Inc.’s Albertson’s, Kroger Co.’s Ralphs and Safeway Inc.’s Vons and Pavilions. In their statement Tuesday, the supermarkets accused union negotiators of delaying the talks and failing to engage in talks of funding levels for the workers’ health plan, wages and other issues. “Because no progress was made on core economic issues last week, we feel it’s going to be really unlikely that we’re going to have a comprehensive plan in two days,” markets’ spokeswoman Adena Tessler said. The supermarkets maintain significant progress has been made toward resolving many contract issues, but the union says both sides remain at odds over key details. The union plans to conduct a contract vote on Sunday, even if all workers have to consider is the bones of a comprehensive offer, Shimpock said. Employees at Ralphs and the Vons and Pavilions chains will also be asked to vote on whether to give union leaders the green light to call a strike against the markets. Albertson’s employees already gave the union clearance to call a strike against the chain in March.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The United Food and Commercial Workers, however, blamed the contract talk delays on the supermarkets. “I find it ironic that they’re lashing out when we gave them two weeks to finish a contract we’ve been negotiating for six months,” said Mike Shimpock, a spokesman for the seven union locals involved in the talks. He noted the union was able to negotiate labor contract with two regional supermarket operators in only a few weeks earlier this year. Labor talks between the supermarkets and the union began in January. Three-year contracts covering 65,000 workers at 785 stores from San Luis Obispo and Bakersfield south to San Diego expired in March. The contract has been renewing automatically on a daily basis and will to do so until any of the parties opts to end the process. last_img

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