Talks between Fry’s and Safeway supermarkets and their Arizona employees are expected to resume within a few days.
As of Friday, no date or time had been set for the two sides to get back to the bargaining table, but United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99 leader Mike Vespoli said that the parties could meet as early as Tuesday.
Contracts for 15,000 local supermarket workers expired Oct. 26, but all parties agreed to an indefinite extension rather than risk a facsimile of the now-three-week long strikes in southern California. Either side can renege on the extension with a seven-day notice.
The agreement gave both sides a breather.
“Everybody is somewhat relieved — management, our members, shoppers — that we are talking and averting a strike,” Vespoli said.
As in California, the biggest stumbling blocks on the local bargaining table are health care coverage and premiums, pensions and a pay raise.