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    Union, Kroger Reach Agreement on Health Care, Pension -- But Still No Contract

    CINCINNATI - The Kroger Co. and a union representing approximately 8,500 employees in three states have reached tentative agreements on health care and pensions but still have not reached a deal on a new contract.

    CINCINNATI - The Kroger Co. and a union representing approximately 8,500 employees in three states have reached tentative agreements on health care and pensions but still have not reached a deal on a new contract.

    A union spokesman who spoke with the Associated Press said the current contract, which expired Oct. 9 but remains in effect, covers cashiers, grocery baggers, and clerks in meat, produce, and delicatessen departments at stores in the Cincinnati area, northern Kentucky, and southeastern Indiana.

    Representatives from Kroger and the union spent 20 consecutive hours negotiating yesterday, yet they were unable to reach consensus on wage increases, said John Marrone, a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1099. He declined to discuss other issues of contract language that remain, as well as addition details about health care and pensions.

    Kroger spokesman Gary Rhodes confirmed the overnight bargaining session to the AP, but said he had no additional information.

    The groups were expected to return to the bargaining table today.

    Each side has the option to end the ongoing extension by giving three days of notice. Union members have voted to authorize a strike if necessary.

    In recent months, Kroger has been able to reach other contract agreements with local unions in other markets, including Detroit and Louisville, Ky.

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