LOS ANGELES — Union workers in Southern California appeared late yesterday to have enough votes to authorize a strike against the major supermarket chains in the region, a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers said in a press conference. Preliminary results indicated that “well in excess” of the two-thirds majority needed to authorize a strike voted in favor of doing so. “We don’t want to strike, but we have been forced into this situation,” said Mike Shimpock, the UFCW spokesman. Workers at Albertsons, owned by Supervalu, had previously voted to authorize a strike — the vote this week was for workers at Kroger-owned Ralphs and Safeway-owned Vons. Shimpock said he was hopeful that the federal mediator would schedule talks between the two sides soon. Also, Kroger yesterday said it had reached tentative contract agreements with workers from three UFCW locals in Dallas and Houston. A union spokeswoman told SN the two sides reached a compromise on funding the health and welfare fund that had been stalling the talks. The new, three-year contracts call for wage increases of up to $3 per hour and add vacation time and increased flexibility in scheduling time off, she said.
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