Gelson's has become the second Southern California supermarket chain to reach an agreement with its workers union, removing the threat of a strike at another regional grocer as talks continue with the three national players, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Gelson's contract follows a deal last month between Stater Bros. of Colton and the United Food and Commercial Workers. Union officials say the contracts give them ammunition in negotiations with Supervalu Inc.'s Albertsons chain, Safeway Inc.'s Vons and Pavilions and Kroger Co.'s Ralphs, where they are pushing for higher wages for all members and improved healthcare coverage for recent hires.

For customers, the latest deal sets the table for picket-free shopping at another traditional grocery chain should negotiations between the union and the three majors once again disintegrate into a work stoppage.

The current contract is set to expire March 5.

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