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Public pension funds that own just two percent of Safeway Inc. stock, met yesterday with the representatives of institutional investors that hold 55 percent of Safeway's stock, as they looked for a way to gain backing for the pension funds' move to oust company CEO Steve Burd.

New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi reportedly is spearheading the campaign with the controllers of at least three other states. Hevesi said the group wants a change in Safeway's management structure, as well as the election of a more independent board of directors. Hevesi called Burd's hard-line stance during the recent Southern California grocery strike "just blather and nonsense."
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