S. California grocery workers vote on labor deal

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Southern California shoppers should soon learn whether grocery stores will remain open as another wave of supermarket employees votes on a deal to stave off a strike.

Members of several union locals are at the polls Saturday. It's the second day of voting on the agreement their leaders negotiated early this week with the region's three largest grocery chains.

A spokesman for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324 says the vote results could be announced shortly after the polls close at 6 p.m.

Union officials have urged the rank-and-file to ratify the plan.

Supermarket giants Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons say the agreement would allow them to remain competitive.

In 2004, a four-month strike and lockout cost the industry $2 billion and left shoppers scrambling for other options.