Adena Tessler, a representative for the grocery chains, said the markets would be “delighted if we could reach an agreement by June 21.” Tessler rejected the union’s claim that without a deadline, negotiations will drag on. “There has been significant progress made” on pensions and wages, she said. Both sides have agreed tentatively to part of a health care plan that would reduce the time it takes new employees to qualify for insurance. Under the deal, employees will wait six months instead of 12 to qualify, dependents will wait six months instead of 30, and spouses will wait 23 months instead of 30. But there is no consensus on how to pay for the health plan. The two sides have been locked in contentious negotiations since before the three-year contract expired March 5. The contract covers almost 70,000 grocery clerks across Southern California. The markets voted in April to lock out employees if workers at one of the chains strikes, and the union has walked away from talks three times. email@example.com (818) 713-3735160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Grocery union leaders want the major markets they are negotiating a new contract with to give them a “comprehensive offer” by June 21 or face a strike authorization vote. “We’ve been negotiating for six months,” said Rick Icaza, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770. “That’s long enough.” Icaza said union representatives want a contract proposal that covers health care benefits, raises and pensions. If the markets respond, Icaza will ask the members to ratify it on June 24. Otherwise, the union will take strike authorization votes against Vons and Ralphs. The union passed a strike vote against Albertsons in April.