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Unionized employees at Safeway-owned Vons, Kroger-owned Ralphs and Supervalu-owned Albertsons have voted to allow union leaders to authorize a strike in the event that negotiations with management cannot be successfully concluded.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the vote in favor of a strike authorization was “overwhelming,” though union leaders would not quantify the vote. The Times writes that a “strike authorization does not mean that a walkout or employer lockout is imminent. Some analysts said it could help jump-start the labor talks, which have dragged on for weeks. The labor contract that was reached in 2007 expired March 6 and is being extended day to day.”

Points of contention are said to “include the retailers' wanting to cut back their contributions to workers' pensions, increase workers' share of health insurance premiums and eliminate HMOs as a healthcare option.” Chains also reportedly “want to shrink meat cutters' hours and use more management employees in stores, which could potentially eliminate 700 union jobs.”
KC's View:
No way there is a strike or lockout. Not at this moment in economic history. It simply makes no sense for either side.