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The Kroger Co. and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), representing some 8,500 employees in 70 supermarkets in the Cincinnati area, reportedly have reached tentative agreements on health care and pensions but still have not reached a deal on a new contract because of distance on the issue of wages.

The old contract expired on October 9. An extension remains in effect, and talks are continuing.

"We've made a lot of progress, and wages are the focal point of discussions at this time," said Kroger spokesman Gary Rhodes. "We remain optimistic that we can get a balanced agreement."
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