Union officials and management of a South Portland Hannaford distribution center have halted contract negotiations after two days and will resume talks next week.

“No meetings are scheduled for the rest of the week,” Jim Carvalho, political director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445, said in an email Tuesday.

“We have sent the company dates in which we are eager to meet next week, and are waiting to hear back from on their availability.” Carvalho later confirmed negotiations are scheduled for Tuesday, but would not say whether the union planned a job action before returning to talks.

Almost two weeks ago, 246 workers represented by UFCW Local 1445 rejected a final contract offer from Delhaize America Distribution, the operator of the Hemco Road warehouse, and authorized a strike but did not walk off the job.

A week ago, distribution center workers staged a 24-hour strike as a show of force ahead of a Monday mediation session. The distribution center supplies 103 Hannaford locations in New England, including 63 stores in Maine.

Delhaize America Distribution spokeswoman Christy Phillips-Brown said the parties had scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, but she would not discuss the status of negotiations.

“The mediation discussions are confidential and as a result, we can’t elaborate on the details of those discussions. As previously mentioned, we are continuing to work in good faith and remain committed to reaching a fair and competitive contract,” Phillips-Brown said.

Union members have said that steep cuts to starting wages and soaring health insurance costs are central issues in the contract dispute.

Delhaize America Distribution is a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize. The Dutch company owns Hannaford and several other U.S. supermarket chains.

Peter McGuire can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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