Union, Grocery Stores to Resume Talks

A federal mediator will meet with union and store representatives

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Representatives with Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons and the union representing workers will meet with a federal mediator Monday as negotiations resume.

    The meeting comes after an Aug. 19-20 vote during which workers authorized a strike -- the second time union members authorized a strike.

    The most recent vote was in response to a health-care proposal offered by the grocery store chains.

    Under the most recent industry offer, workers would pay about $36 per  month for individual health insurance, or $92 per month for family coverage.  But the union said the insurance fund would not be financially viable and wants  the supermarkets to contribute more to prevent it from running out of money  within 16 months.

    No tentative agreement on wages has been reached. Union members have been without a contract since March.

    Albertsons spokesman Fred Mui said that Albertsons has begun advertising for temporary employees should the employees strike.

    In San Diego, grocery store workers protested downtown on Wednesday. Over 100 union members rallied for the negotiations to reject the health-care proposal.

    United Commercial Food Workers union 135 President Mickey Kasparian led the rally outside of Ralph's.

    "This is a taste of what they will get if we strike," he said.