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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Unionized workers at five supermarket organizations here and in the Akron-Canton, Ohio area voted this week to authorize a strike if negotiators failed to reach consensus on a new labor pact.
Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880, which represents roughly 13,000 employees at Fishers Foods, Giant Eagle, F.W. Albrecht, Tops, and Heinen's, have been working under a contract that expired Sept. 11.
While the sticking points of talks have not been disclosed, health care, pensions, and wages are said to be at the heart of the talks.
UFCW Local 880 officials said that 93 percent of the 4,000 members in attendance from the five chains voted in favor of a strike. Union president Thomas Robertson released a statement Tuesday night, saying that the vote sends a message, and pledged to return to the bargaining table "to try and hammer out an agreement peacefully. Despite the length and intensity of these negotiations, little progress has been made."
Negotiations are over three three-year contracts, one each for employees in the Canton-Akron and Cleveland areas, and a third for butchers and other meat department employees.