PRESS RELEASE: MARCH 13, 2009

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Tentative agreement reached in all-night bargaining session

A province-wide strike by 3,300 Safeway workers has been averted after an all-night bargaining session between the company and union led to a tentative deal.'These were difficult negotiations and probably the closest we've come to a strike with Safeway since our 1978 strike.'— Robert Zeigler, UFCW

The two sides reached the agreement at 6 a.m., said Robert Zeigler, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832, which represents the unionized staff.

"These were difficult negotiations and probably the closest we've come to a strike with Safeway since our 1978 strike," Ziegler said.

Details of the tentative agreement will not be released until the workers have had a chance to review it and vote on it.

A ratification vote is set to take place March 15 at locations in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Dauphin, Neepawa and Steinbach.

Less than three weeks ago, the workers overwhelmingly approved a strike mandate to back their contract demands. And just two days ago, Ziegler sent out a news release stating that negotiations had came to a standstill as it was "clear that both sides are very far apart."

On Friday, Ziegler said he was glad to be presenting the union members with an agreement rather than another recommendation to rejection to the company's offer.

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