business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) members who work at Albertsons' Jewel Food Stores in southeastern Wisconsin have voted to ratify a new labor agreement.

The ratification went against a union recommendation that the workers authorize a strike.

The three-year deal calls for signing bonuses of up to $300 for part-time employees, who represent more than two-thirds of Jewel's union workers, and $600 for full-time employees. It also provides wage increases of up to $3.10 an hour over three years for part-timers, and an increase of 50 cents an hour plus another $500 bonus for full-timers over three years.

The decision took place as thousands of union members walked picket lines this week against supermarkets in southern California, West Virginia, and the St. Louis area.

In Southern California, the area's three major supermarket chains - Safeway's Vons, Kroger's Ralphs, and Albertsons units - are believed to be losing millions of dollars in sales each day.

In St. Louis, published reports say that several grocery employees are filing charges with the National Labor Relations Board, saying that union officials didn't conduct a fair strike vote.
KC's View: