The United Food and Commercial Workers union and Ralph's Grocery Co., Safeway Inc.'s Vons, and Albertsons LLC agreed to extend workers' contracts by two weeks. The contracts expired Monday.

The parties have been negotiating for at least one month and now have until Monday, March 19 to reach an agreement and avoid a strike.

"Grocery workers want to negotiate and we want a new contract in place to avoid another lockout or strike," said Mike Shimpock, spokesperson for the seven Southern California UFCW local unions. "We agreed to this extension because management promised to finally come to the table and negotiate with us."

Dates for negotiations are to be determined by the Federal Labor Mediator assigned to the negotiations.

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