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The Los Angeles Times reports that Southern California’s three major grocery chains – Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons – are expected to return to the bargaining table with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) on April 16.

The talks between management and labor were suspended last week when the three chains signed an agreement calling for the lockout of employees from all three companies within 48 hours of a strike against any one company, as well as providing for the companies to provide financial assistance to whatever chain is targeted by the UFCW. That agreement came after the UFCW members employed by Albertsons voted to authorize a strike without setting a date.

The contract that was agreed to three years ago after an extended labor outage in Southern California ran out on March 5, but was extended to at least today, though nothing is expected to happen until the talks resume next week.

The Times suggests that both sides are downplaying the likelihood of a labor outage, and notes that none of the chains are hiring replacement workers in the event of a strike/lockout.

Albertsons is owned by Supervalu, Ralphs is owned by Kroger and Vons is owned by Safeway.
KC's View:
In other words, the two sides seem to be playing a game of chicken.

We wonder, though, if in this climate it will be possible for the two sides to come to the kind of agreement on fundamental health care changes that have been advocated by Safeway CEO Steve Burd.

Because if they don’t, it may just be delaying the inevitable.