Safeway, Fry's join to defend against strike

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MESA -- Safeway says it has entered into an agreement with Fry's Food Stores to coordinate "defensive measures" if unionized workers go on strike against only one of the companies.

The grocery chains did not say Tuesday if the measures would involve a lockout of union workers at the one company that was not struck.

The announcement was the latest development as the companies approach a deadline of 6 p.m. Friday to reach agreements on new contracts with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 99 or face a walkout by union members.

The union represents about 25,000 hourly workers at the two grocery chains, including clerks, stockers, meat cutters, produce workers and baggers.

Safeway and Fry's both are seeking replacement workers to fill in for employees who do strike. Some union workers opposing a walkout say they don't want to be out of work over the holidays.

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