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Seattle Weekly News reports that member of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in western Washington are voting this week to authorize a strike at Safeway, QFC, Albertsons and Fred Meyer. The vote comes after three days of negotiations that reportedly made no progress.

The story says that unionized employees "are unhappy with their latest contract proposals due to shortcomings in health care offerings for employees working under 30 hours a week, a lack of time-and-a-half pay on holidays, inadequate sick pay provisions and a lack of wage increases."


• The Associated Press reports that shareholders in Smithfield Foods have approved a proposal that will sell the world's largest pork producer and processor to Shuanghui International Holdings, a Chinese company, for $4.7 billion.

According to the AP story, "The deal, which is expected to close Thursday, will be the largest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm, valued at about $7.1 billion including debt. Its sale to Hong Kong-based Shuanghui comes at a time of serious food safety problems in China, some of which have involved Shuanghui, which owns food and logistics enterprises and is the largest shareholder of China's biggest meat processor."
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