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Analysts say that when Safeway holds an investor conference on Friday, it is at least possible that management will announce its intentions for the Chicago market, where its Dominick’s division is in tense labor negotiations with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union.

Safeway has threatened to close or sell the stores if the union does not back off its demand for higher wages and acquiesce to Safeway’s demands, which it says will only put it on an even playing field with Albertsons’ Jewel division.

Some analysts believe that a labor standoff would only provide Safeway with an excuse to exit Chicago, where it has found the competition far tougher than expected.

Meanwhile, the UFCW reportedly has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing Safeway of unfair labor practices when it threatened to sell or close its stores if the union wouldn’t accede to its demands.
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