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Chicago -- Labor unions representing Dominick's workers have agreed to a "day-by-day" contract extension as Safeway, Inc. continues to try to sell the Chicago-area grocery store chain.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Locals 1546 and 881, whose contracts expired Saturday, informed members of the extension on a union Web site Wednesday.
The extension requires that all parties give 48 hours' notice before terminating the extension.
"A day-by-day extension of the current contract enables Safeway to continue in its efforts to sell the chain to a suitable buyer," Local 1546 President Kenneth R. Boyd said in the Web site posting. "At the same time, UFCW members employed by Dominick's can be assured that all union safeguards are in place as they go about their business of serving their customers and running the stores."
The company and the locals did not return calls for comment.
Last fall, amid bitter contract negotiations and faced with a threatened strike by nearly 9,000 union workers, Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway said it would sell the Dominick's chain and signed an agreement with Locals 881 and 1546 that extended their old contracts through July 26.
SuperValu, Inc., an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based grocery wholesaler and owner of Cub Foods discount supermarkets, was believed to be the lead bidder in talks with Safeway on buying Dominick's, which has watched sales fall steadily since 2000.
But union leaders informed Dominick's workers last Friday that Safeway has been unable to reach an agreement with the first company bidding on the chain. They added they remained confident that discussions with other potential bidders would result in a favorable sale.
Union members "are eager for a new buyer to restore and revitalize the Dominick's chain," Ronald E. Powell, Local 881 president, said in the Web site posting.
The extension plays a role in "encouraging the pending sale of Dominick's to the right buyer," he added.