Negotiations resumed Sunday in the Raley's supermarket strike, a week after workers walked off the job to protest the Northern California grocery company's attempt to impose changes in their contract.
Contract talks between management and union representatives for about 7,500 workers had been stalled for months, and the two sides seemed far apart when the strike began Nov. 3. But the grocery workers' union announced a separate agreement Thursday with the much larger Safeway supermarket chain, which was negotiated without a strike.
Neither side in the Raley's negotiations released details of the resumed discussions.
"Both parties have agreed to not discuss the progress of these talks while the current negotiations are ongoing," Raley's spokesman John Segale said in a written statement that confirmed the talks had resumed. "We are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair and equitable to both parties."
A message posted on the website of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 was equally terse. Local president Ron Lind confirmed talks had resumed but urged workers to remain on the picket line.
"While this is a positive development, it is no time to let down our guard," the message added.
The strike affects 90 stores in the privately held grocery chain, which owns 120 supermarkets operating under the names Raley's, Nob Hill and Bel Air in Northern California and Nevada.
When the strike began last week, workers said they were opposing Raley's efforts to cut wages and benefits. The company said the terms it sought to impose would freeze pay increases for two years and eliminate some premium pay, without affecting health coverage.
Raley's has said it was forced to impose the changes unilaterally after 15 months of unsuccessful contract talks because of increased competition from nonunion groceries such as Walmart, Target and Whole Foods. Union leaders, however, had accused Raley's of bargaining in bad faith and attempting to intimidate members.
While details of the Safeway settlement have not been released, Lind has said that contract left those workers' health benefits unchanged.
Contact Brandon Bailey at 408-920-5022; follow him at Twitter.com/BrandonBailey