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SoCal Grocery Workers OK Strike Authorization

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(credit: File/AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

(credit: File/AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Southern California grocery workers have voted to allow their union to call a strike against three major supermarket chains if contract talks break down.

The strike authorization vote was approved Wednesday by an overwhelming margin, according to a notice posted Thursday on the website of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770.

The site didn’t mention the vote count.

Seven union locals representing more than 60,000 workers have been working under a contract with Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons that expired last month.

The vote doesn’t mean a strike is imminent. The union would be required to give stores a 72-hour warning if they
decide ask workers to walk off the job. Contract negotiations are set to resume this month.

Representatives of the supermarket chains have called the vote premature.

In 2003-04, a grocery workers strike and lockout dragged on for 141 days, wiping out the savings of most workers and costing supermarkets an estimated $1.5 billion.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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