Teamsters officials representing more than 4,000 warehouse workers and truck drivers announced a tentative agreement Saturday with Albertsons and Kroger, Southern California’s two largest grocery chains.

The deal, which affects workers at the Vons, Pavilions, Ralphs and Food4Less chains, was hammered out in virtual negotiations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and included the involvement of federal mediators.

“We are proud to announce that early this morning, we reached a tentative agreement with the food employers,” stated a letter from Lou Villalvazo, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 630, and chair of the Teamsters Joint Council 42 Food & Grocery Negotiating Committee.

“… Going into bargaining, our No. 1 concern was protecting your family’s — and retirees — affordable health care. Not only did we achieve that; your bargaining committee secured additional funding from the grocers to increase our reserve levels to protect your health care in the future,” the letter continued.

An Albertsons representative confirmed Saturday that a tentative deal was reached, but had no further details. Kroger representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rick Middleton, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 572, and Teamsters International vice president, said, “Our members’ willingness to strike to protect their families sent a strong message to Kroger and Albertsons that resonated. We are very proud of the deal we have reached and strongly recommend a ratification by members.”

Teamster members will be asked to ratify the contract in the coming weeks.

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