FARMINGTON — Smith's Food and Drug Centers Inc. and the union representing some of the company's employees have a little more than a month to come to a new agreement.

The United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1564, and Smith's have been negotiating terms of a new contract after the old one expired on June 7 and have yet to find common ground.

The four-year contract ended, but the union workers have continued working at Smith's because of a special contract provision that keeps workers in the stores. That provision is only good until August 2, said Greg Frazier, Local 1564 president.

The union represents nearly 100 workers at the Farmington Smith's and more than 2,000 Smith's workers statewide, Frazier said.

He said workers have not been asked to vote on whether to strike if the sides cannot agree.

"We have to get the company's proposal," Frazier said. "This company is doing extremely well and they should share with the people."

Voicemail messages seeking comment from Smith's and their parent, Kroger Company, had not been returned as of Wednesday evening.

The entities are at odds over worker compensation and hours, among other topics.

Union employees at Smith's work as many as six days a week but aren't scheduled for full-time hours. The scheduling doesn't affect their benefits. In addition - except for Thanksgiving when workers receive an extra dollar an hour - workers receive normal pay during holidays, Frazier said.

"It's just another day of work," he said.

Company and union representatives met on Wednesday and the union handed Smith's their latest proposal.

Frazier said the groups plan to meet again on July 16 and he expects Smith's will present its response to Wednesday's union proposal.

In June, Kroger reported in a press release that the company had first-quarter net earnings of $501 million dollars. Frazier said they hope the company will look to share some of the financial gains with company employees.

The contract the union has with the grocery store chain was negotiated four years ago and Frazier said the supermarket was struggling against other supermarkets in the state at the time.

As a result, he said the union made concessions regarding holiday pay and scheduling to help the company gain financial strength.

"That was agreed to years back when Kroger was struggling with some stronger competition," he said, "They just released first quarter earnings. They are doing very well."

Another issue the two are negotiating is the sale of prepackaged pork.

Frazier said selling prepackaged pork reduces hours for butchers.

The negotiations haven't been fair, Frazier says.

Earlier this month, members from the Smith's and Kroger negotiating team walked away from the talks.

In a June 13 National Labor Relations Board filing, the union claims Smith's has failed to negotiate with the union in good faith.

The union says that Smith's failed to negotiate economic terms of a new contract.

"We're not too happy about that," Frazier said.

Erny Zah is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4638 and Follow him @ernyzah on Twitter.