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The Los Angeles Times reports that there seems to be a more hopeful attitude on both sides of the labor talks currently ongoing in the San Francisco Bay Area, as both labor and management seem focused on avoiding the strike/lockout that affected the Southern California for more than four months.

That’s not to say the more civil discourse is resulting in solid and acceptable proposals. The contract between some 30,000 unionized employees who work for 382 Safeway, Kroger and Albertsons stores expired on September 11, and the LAT says that no formal proposals have been made by either side. But no ultimatums have been issued, either, and the old contract has been extended while the two sides talk – and that seems like a positive sign.

The chains almost certainly are looking for wage and benefits concessions like those achieved in Southern California, which would create a tiered system that compensates new employees at lower levels than existing workers. But the chains also want to avoid the kind of devastating economic impact that they continue to experience in Southern California – sales that migrated to small chains and other formats, and that in some cases show no sign of returning.
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