Supermarket Giants Avoid Damaging Strike

Two of the nation's leading supermarket retailers avoided a potentially crippling strike over the weekend when more than 22,000 employees of Albertson's and Safeway agreed to extend their contracts until midnight Sept. 8. Representatives of nine chapters of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) said the contracts, which were due to expire on Saturday, were extended an additional week to enable the union to negotiate a four-year pact with the retailers.

Albertson's and Safeway, the Nos. 2 and 3 supermarket chains in the nation behind Kroger, had formed a "mutual strike assistance agreement" to negotiate and prepare for a possible strike, which included plans for a marketing campaign and the hiring of replacement workers to counteract the strike.

UFCW spokesman Daniel Beagle said the additional time "gives both sides more time to look over proposed changes to health care and pension programs." He said the potential for a strike, which would affect stores along the West Coast, still looms
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