Albertsons spokesman Fred Muir confirms that the company is bracing for a strike and is looking for temporary workers now.
Muir says Albertsons posted help wanted signs at all of its Southland locations on Tuesday afternoon. The signs say the store is accepting applications for temp workers.
Vons and Pavilions, both owned by Safeway, are posting similar signs. In a statement, those stores' parent company described the move as "purely a defensive measure" in response to a potential strike.
During a labor action eight years ago, Albertsons, Vons and Ralphs kept stores open with temp and management employees stocking the shelves and staffing the checkout counters.
This year, United Food and Commercial Workers and the supermarket chains have reached an impasse over the cost of health care benefits. Union workers authorized a strike a few months ago; they plan a second strike vote this weekend.