The Federal Mediation and Conciliation
Service has scheduled a new round of talks that will start today, Friday, Dec.
19, in an attempt to resolve a strike by 70,000 members of the United Food and Commercial
Workers against four Southern California grocery store chains.
The labor dispute, which centers on health care benefits,
started Oct. 21 and covers more than 800 Southern California stores operated by
Vons, Ralph's, Pavilions and Albertsons. Those stores make up roughly 60 percent
of all groceries in the southern half of the state.
The parties were last at the bargaining table Dec. 7. Peter
J. Hurtgen, the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service,
will act as mediator when negotiations resume, the service announced.