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Published reports say that the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union in Southern California has shifted its picketers from the front of Ralphs stores there to loading docks, hoping to choke off the supply of food as opposed to the supply of customers.

The move is just the latest in the four-month old strike/lockout that has affected more than 70,000 employees at the region's three biggest supermarket chains - Albertsons, Safeway's Vons, and Kroger's Ralphs. The dispute is over compensation and health benefits issues, and negotiation efforts have been fitful, fractious and ultimately have fallen apart.

Sources told MNB that the latest move by the UFCW was less a strategic shift than it was a bow to reality. It is easier and takes fewer people to picket loading docks, sources told us, and the UFCW has been running into problems keeping the picket lines up as workers become more and more disillusioned.
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