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Board OKs Save Mart Contract

MODESTO, Calif. — Save Mart Supermarkets here said a new contract for its employees has been ratified by the executive board of the local union after almost a year of negotiations.

The agreement was accepted by the executive board of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5 even though 52% of Save Mart's employees had voted late last week to reject the company's offer — following a 64% "no" vote on the identical offer last month. The union said its board opted to accept the offer because the total was not the two-thirds majority needed for the international union to sanction a strike.

Local 5 said its bylaws and the international union constitution allow the executive board of a local to accept a contract when the membership rejects an offer by a vote that is not high enough to receive strike sanction.

Read more: Union Board to Vote on Save Mart Contract

"In this particular situation, with no majority for strike sanction, economic action against the employer would have been impossible," the local said. "The board fully weighed all the options before it and concluded the best course of action was to vote to authorize the agreement," according to a posting on the local's website.

In a prepared statement Save Mart said the agreement "provides for increased job security and offers our associates more hours to better take care of our customers. We appreciate the support of our associates who recognized the critical competitive circumstances facing our company [and the need] to be swift in meeting the challenges of a very competitive retail environment."

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