retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Los Angeles Times reports that as negotiations collapsed between the united Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and Southern California's three major supermarket chains, both sides were hunkering down and planning strategy.

And, the federal mediator involved in the talks said they had been "difficult," and that he would not call the two sides back together until he saw some evidence that discussions would be worthwhile.

While the three chains - Kroger's Ralphs, Safeway's Vons, and Albertsons - said they had made a new "outstanding wage and benefit" offer that had been spurned by the UFCW, the union said the packaged was inadequate.

The LAT writes that the new offer promised "to beef up a reserve to keep an employee health-care plan afloat," and withdrew "a requirement that workers take an unpaid two-hour lunch during slow periods." But it also did not include "a 30-cent raise in the contract's third year, a raise that was included in a proposed pact overwhelmingly rejected by union members two months ago. And, the UFCW complained, the new offer would not maintain 'affordable health care for working families.'"

The UFCW has called a meeting of leaders of union locals from around the country to help plot strategy.

The strike enters its third month this Friday.
KC's View:
Hard to image the two sides even talking again, much less coming to an agreement, before 2004.