S. California grocery workers vote on labor deal

September 24, 2011 - 2:20 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California shoppers should soon learn whether their grocery aisles will remain open as another wave of supermarket employees votes on whether to accept a deal to stave off a strike.

Members of several union locals will go to the polls Saturday, the second day of voting on the agreement their labor leaders negotiated early this week with the region's three largest grocery chains.

Union officials have urged the rank and file to ratify the plan, which they say addresses concerns about funding for the employees' health care plan.

Supermarket giants Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons say the agreement would allow them to remain competitive.

In 2004, a four-month strike and lockout cost the industry $2 billion and left shoppers scrambling for other options.