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The Rocky Mountain News reports that unionized employees of Kroger’s King Soopers chain in the Denver market have voted to allow the federal mediator in the case to craft a labor proposal that may be agreeable to both sides.

Kroger made the suggestion about a month ago, and the union agreed to it late last week.

The two sides have been working without a contract since November 3, and haven’t seemed to have been able to make any headway during negotiations.

Safeway and Albertsons, which are in the same labor boat, have not made a similar proposal. The presumption, however, is that if Kroger and the union can come to an agreement, those terms will be used as the basis of agreements between the union and the other chains.
KC's View:
Let’s hope that this can lead to some real progress…and that the mediator is able to get the two sides to focus on the new realities of competing in 2005 and beyond, not just refighting old labor battles.