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The Rocky Mountain News reports that Kroger-owned King Soopers has proposed that a federal mediator come up with a settlement to the labor negotiations that have gone on for five unsuccessful months.

Kroger, Safeway and Albertsons have been negotiating with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), representing more than 17,000 employees, since mid-summer. The contract between labor and management expired on November 3.

There is a major caveat attached to the proposal by Kroger: it wants the mediator to do all his work beyond the glare of the area’s various media outlets, and expressed concern that organized labor is trying to manipulate media coverage of the dispute.

There are no new talks scheduled until after New Year’s Day; the union reportedly has until then to decide whether to agree to the Kroger suggestion. At the same time, the News reports that Safeway and Albertsons have not made similar requests of the mediator.
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