Grocery workers extend contract to discuss offers

The Associated Press
Monday September 03, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO – More than 20,000 employees of Albertson’s and Safeway throughout Northern California agreed Saturday to extend their contract until midnight Sept. 8 

Nine chapters of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union are negotiating a four-year contract with the grocers, which are competitors. 

Union spokesman Daniel Beagle says the extra week gives both sides more time to look over proposed changes to health care and pension programs. 

“If there’s going to be a strike, our attitude is let’s look at every possible opportunity to avoid it,” Beagle said. 

Safeway and Albertson’s formed a so-called “mutual strike assistance agreement” to negotiate and prepare for a possible strike. 

The grocers are displaying signs looking for replacement workers if there is a strike. But union officials say no labor action is imminent. 

The union is seeking raises of between 75 cents and $1.50 per hour, depending on classification, each year of a new contract. The union also hopes to increase the current number of full-time workers.