Workers at four Macy's stores OK right to strike

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Workers at four Macy's Inc stores in the New York City area, including the flagship Manhattan location, voted on Monday to be able to call a strike if agreement on a new contract is not reached by late Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which is representing the 4,000 Macy's workers, mostly sales staff, said the issues in dispute include pension benefits and health insurance costs.

The current contract, signed in 2006, expires at midnight June 15, and negotiations for a new pact began in April, the union spokesman, Dan Morris, told Reuters. Union members say Macy's should offer better terms, given its strong performance of late, he said.

A Macy's spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for a comment. Macy's took an ad in Sunday's New York Times looking for temporary sales staff "in anticipation of a possible labor dispute."

The stores involved in the dispute include the flagship store in Manhattan as well as locations in the Bronx, Queens and suburban Westchester County.

Earlier this month, Macy's reported another month of better-than-expected sales gains.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba; editing by John Wallace)