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Some 19,000 supermarket employees represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in Northern California have reached a 33-month contract agreement with Safeway, Albertsons and Kroger, averting a possible strike.

In addition, analysts believe that the agreement could lay the groundwork for a similar deal that would cover thousands of employees in the San Francisco Bay area, where labor and management continue to negotiate with little sign of significant progress.

The agreement came after 10 months of negotiations, and was described by union organizers as protecting the wages and benefits of unionized employees. Exact terms of the deal, however, were not disclosed pending ratification of the contract, which should happen in early January.

However, the union did say that the deal does not have a two-tier wage structure, nor does it force employees to pay their own insurance premiums – two components of a Southern California contract agreement that was reached after a four-month long strike/lockout. Industry consultant Burt Flickinger III described the agreement to the Sacramento Bee as “a major win for
the workers.”

The contract covers stores from Modesto north to the Oregon border.
KC's View:
For everyone’s sake, we hope that the basics of this deal can be applied to the San Francisco situation, thereby alleviating any strike or lockout threat. It’s time to get down to the business of competing and working together to be more competitive.