UNION EXTENDS DOMINICK'S AGREEMENT

CHICAGO -- Two locals of United Food and Commercial Workers Union here said last week they have agreed to a request by Safeway for a day-to-day extension of their contract with Dominick's Supermarkets, also based here.y had expired.It also followed industry reports last week indicating the unions had been unable to reach an agreement with the first company bidding to buy Dominick's, which most industry

CHICAGO -- Two locals of United Food and Commercial Workers Union here said last week they have agreed to a request by Safeway for a day-to-day extension of their contract with Dominick's Supermarkets, also based here.

y had expired.

It also followed industry reports last week indicating the unions had been unable to reach an agreement with the first company bidding to buy Dominick's, which most industry observers believe to be Supervalu, Minneapolis.

Neither union nor Safeway officials could be reached for comment last week.

The two unions representing Dominick's employees are UFCW Locals 881 and 1546. The inability of the unions and Safeway to agree to terms last November when their previous contract expired prompted Safeway to decide it would put Dominick's up for sale.

Late last month the unions said they would re-open negotiations with Safeway.

In a follow-up letter to union members last week, union officials said their objective "from the start" has been to protect members' wages, benefits, pension, health insurance and job security, "[and] this day-to-day extension...enables Safeway to continue in its efforts to sell the chain to a suitable buyer. At the same time, UFCW members can be assured that all union safeguards are in place.

"We remain eager for a new buyer to restore and revitalize the Dominick's chain. The contract extension, on a day-to-day basis, allows all sides to remain focused on what matters most: serving the shopping public...while encouraging the pending sale of Dominick's to the right buyer."

Steve Burd, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., said two weeks ago the chain was willing to extend the contract, "which would give us adequate time to complete the process of selling Dominick's."

He also said that sale could be a few months off, likening the negotiations process to a baseball game "[in which] we're probably in the bottom of the seventh inning, without knowing if we're going to go into extra innings."