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Crain's Chicago Business reports that Safeway’s Dominick’s Finer Foods is facing a contract stalemate with 8,900 employees who are members of the united Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union that could result in a strike as early as this week.

Saying that it is at a competitive disadvantage, Safeway/Dominick’s is looking for wage, benefits and work-rule concessions from clerks and cashiers that it says will allow it to better compete with non-union retailers. The company has been taking a similar hard line elsewhere in the country, and is expected to risk a strike rather than sign a contract that it perceives as bad for business.

The Dominick’s contract expires November 9.

Because Wal-Mart, a non-union shop, is putting price pressure on retailers all over the country, the UFCW is facing tough negotiations with retailers in numerous markets. Crain’s reports that the UFCW has been asking locals representing more than 100,000 organized Safeway employees to increase union dues in order to help fund temporary benefits for workers in the event of a strike.
KC's View:
The UFCW apparently disputes the notion that a non-union shop like Wal-Mart can put a unionized retailer at a price disadvantage -- logic that, quite frankly, we’d be curious to see justified.

What’s interesting in these negotiations is that they all seem so traditional. The workers want more, the stores want to give less, and they struggle back and forth, creating nothing but enmity.

This is the 21st century. You’d think that in all this mess, someone would come up with a new formula for management-labor relations that would change the ground rules so that negotiations aren’t being handled in essentially the same way that they were a half-century ago.