(June 20) Time is running out on Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons.

The retailers face a June 21 deadline to reach a new labor agreement with grocery workers in Southern California. The retailers and union leaders have been negotiating health care issues and wages for more than six months. The current contract, agreed to in 2004 after a 141-day strike, was set to expire March 5 but was extended twice.

Mike Shimpock, spokesman for the Southern California Grocery Workers Union, said June 20 that it was unlikely a deal would be reached before the deadline. He said that if no agreement was reached a strike vote would be scheduled for June 24, adding he thinks there is no doubt workers would authorize a strike.

“Our members are tired,” Shimpock said. “They realize we’ve done everything possible.”

Albertsons workers already authorized union leaders to call a strike in a March 25 vote. If Ralphs and Vons employees would follow suit, the union would have to cancel its contract extension and give the retailers 72 hours notice before going on strike, Shimpock said.

Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., which owns Ralphs, is dealing with labor negotiations in four other states. Kroger employees in Dallas, Houston and Toledo, Ohio, already have authorized strikes.

Jim Papian, spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers union, said that if workers in any one of those areas went on strike, workers in the other affected markets likely would follow suit. He also said union workers in markets not affected by current negotiations also might join a work stoppage.

“It could be very widespread,” he said.

Kroger; Vons’ parent company, Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway Inc.; and Albertsons’ parent company, Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu Inc., also are in labor negotiations with workers in Oregon and Washington.