Grocery strike averted as tentative deal reached with workers

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Ralphs, Albertsons, and other grocery stores have reached a tentative agreement with the union representing thousands of grocery workers.

Workers were previously threatening to strike, saying the grocery stores offer wage increases far below the cost of living and could bankrupt the employee health-care plan.

Ralphs executives have said the company offers competitive wages and healthcare benefits.

Union officials say some 47,000 workers are set to start voting on the tentative deal Monday, with results announced Thursday.

The workers' existing contract expired six months ago and in June they voted to authorize union leaders to declare a strike if no deal could be reached.

Details of the deal have not been released.

"We feel this is a good step forward to what the future of grocery jobs should be," said Mike Shipock with the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Ralphs spokesman John Votava said: "We are pleased to have worked with the union to secure increased wages, continued premium health care coverage, and pension. Our associates are the heart of our company and this agreement is a reflection of their contributions."
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