Raley's and the United Food and Commercial Workers announced Sunday that they have resumed negotiations in San Francisco as the two sides seek an end to a week-old strike.
UFCW Local 8 in Roseville said Raley's initiated the talks.
"It is abundantly clear to us Raley's desire to return to the (bargaining) table has been driven by the success of our picket lines and consumer support for our members," the local told its members on its Web site. "Raley's chief negotiator contacted your bargaining team with a request to resume negotiations."
The strike involves 130 stores under the Raley's and Nob Hill Foods banners, including six Raley's locations in the greater Modesto area. The stores have remained open.
Raley's workers went on strike rather than agree to the company's demands for wage and benefit concessions. The main sticking point is the Raley's proposal to alter the health insurance plan, including the elimination of health care for retirees eligible for Medicare.
Union officials urged their members to continue picketing despite the resumption of talks.
"While this is a positive development, it is no time to let down our guard," UFCW Local 5 in San Jose said in a message posted on its Web site Sunday.
Few details were available about the new negotiations. "Both parties have agreed to not discuss the progress of these talks while the current negotiations are ongoing," Raley's said in a prepared statement.
The company has said it needs the concessions if it is to compete with nonunion rivals such as Wal-Mart.
Raley's main union competitors, Safeway and Modesto-based Save Mart Supermarkets, have reached separate agreements with the UFCW.