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Teamsters, Jewel bargain through the weekend

A strike by warehouse workers and drivers could disrupt deliveries to 185 area stores.

A Jewel Osco truck is parked near a Jewel Osco warehouse, located at 1955 W. North Ave. in Melrose Park, ll., Thursday afternoon, March 4, 2021.
A Jewel Osco truck is parked near a Jewel Osco warehouse, located at 1955 W. North Ave. in Melrose Park, ll., Thursday afternoon, March 4, 2021.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file photo

Jewel-Osco and the union representing its warehouse workers and drivers negotiated Sunday to avert a strike that could disrupt deliveries to the area’s largest grocery chain.

Teamsters Local 710 said that after 16 hours of bargaining Saturday, talks resumed at 9 a.m. Sunday. The union and the company provided no update during the day.

The union represents 850 workers at Jewel’s Melrose Park distribution hub. Its contract expired Saturday night and members have authorized a strike.

In a statement posted early Sunday on the union’s web site, Local 710 Secretary-Treasurer Mike Cales cited progress toward an agreement. “We think we’re getting there, and our team is committed to finalizing a tentative agreement that we are proud to bring back to the members,” he said.

Issues include health care contributions, staffing levels and starting pay for new hires. Jewel has been requiring six-day workweeks in Melrose Park, the union said. Grocery stores have seen greater demand from people spending more time at home during the pandemic.

The union has said starting pay should be increased to attract workers and address what it calls understaffing that affects worker safety.

Local 710 said it services 185 Jewel stores in the Chicago area.