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Grocery Workers Vote on New Contract

Negotiators from the United Food and Commercial Workers union and Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons ward off a strike.

Grocery workers across Southern California were set to vote Friday on whether to ratify a new contract agreement with three supermarket chains to prevent a strike, City News Service reported. Union members have been working without a contract since spring.

Negotiators for the United Food and Commercial Workers union and grocery chains , Vons and Albertsons reached a Monday morning—less than 24 hours after Sunday's 7:10 p.m. strike deadline.

Details of the agreement were not released; however, union officials said they were confident that the new agreement took care of the health-coverage issues that triggered last week's 72-hour strike notice.

"We have attained our most important goal, which was continuing to provide comprehensive health care to the members and their families," the union said in a statement. "The grocery workers of Southern California stood together, strong and united, throughout this long and difficult process. They refused to accept anything less than a contract that protects their wages, benefits and working conditions.

"We are proud of them."

The deal "continues to preserve good wages, secure pensions and access to quality, affordable health care—while allowing us to be competitive in the marketplace," according to a joint statement from the grocery chains.

Negotiators did not say how the were solved.

Both sides worked to stave off a lockout like the one that hit the industry from 2003-2004. The 141-day lockout cost the stores an estimated $1.5 billion.

Raphs has one store in Redondo Beach, while Vons and Albertsons each have three locations in the city.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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