San Diego grocery store workers are close to approving a deal that would prevent union members from picketing outside local supermarkets.
Local 135 United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) members will vote Monday and Tuesday to approve a contract with Southern California Albertsons, Ralphs, Vons and Pavilions.
Negotiations came to a head in late June when 97 percent of San Diego union members voted to authorize a strike, meaning if contract negotiations with grocery companies fall through, union leaders have the power to call a strike for thousands of members.
The union said they would vote to strike on Sept. 9 but, less than 24-hour before, announced a tentative deal had been reached.
Ralphs also confirmed in a statement on their website a deal had been reached with all seven Southern California UFCW unions but did not provide any details on the terms of the agreement.
If the workers reject the current offers, roughly 46,000 grocery employees could walk off the job at more than 500 stores in Central and Southern California.
The contract between the union and the companies expired in March. Todd Walters, president of the local UFCW chapter, says Albertsons, Vons and Ralphs employees primarily want higher wages and to keep their health care coverage strong.
The union has been working toward a new contract with its supermarkets since March. If no deal is reached, it will be the first time since 2003 that grocery store workers went on strike in Southern California, when tens of thousands of workers marched for about five months for better benefits.