Grocery talks to go ahead

first_imgIt was extended twice and is now being renewed daily. Three years ago talks broke down, leading to a 139-day strike that cost the chains an estimated $2 billion. Union leaders plan to meet with stewards of each shop this week for input on negotiations. [email protected] (818) 713-3735160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The two sides will meet next week but declined to provide details because of a news blackout. Tuesday’s breakdown was the second time the union has walked away from negotiations in five weeks. It was prompted by a proposal that would reduce employer contributions to a fund that purchases employee health insurance from $3.80 per hour per eligible employee to $2 an hour, said union spokesman Mike Shimpock. The chains would use fund reserves of $500 million to cover their hourly contribution, he added. New employees pay between $7 and $15 a week after the 12- to 18-month waiting period, while veteran workers do not have a weekly contribution to their health care. The two sides have been negotiating since before March 5, when the original three-year contract covering almost 70,000 workers in Southern California expired. Grocery union leaders agreed Wednesday to resume bargaining with three major markets a day after the union walked out of talks because of a proposal that would cut employer contributions to health care. “We are going to attempt to avoid a strike and go back in good faith to try to iron out an agreement,” said Rick Icaza, head of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770, the largest of seven unions. “There’s too much at stake here.” The decision was made after a dozen top organizers met Tuesday night and Wednesday to discuss how to proceed. Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons “reaffirmed their commitment” to talk with the union starting Monday, said Adena Tessler in a prepared statement released Wednesday. last_img

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