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Now that the unionized employees of Southern California's three major supermarket chains have ratified a three-year contract that ends a more than four-month strike/lockout, the process has begun to bring them back to work.

Albertsons, Kroger's Ralphs, and Safeway's Vons asked employees to call in for schedules. The employees were being asked to submit a form to their employers that would establish that they were ready to return to work.

In addition, the chains' temporary replacement workers were being let go.

It was expected that all the old employees would be back to work by the end of the week, with some back as soon as tomorrow.

On Ralphs' website, the company posted a letter that said, in part, "We want you to know how much you were missed and how glad we are to have you returning to work. We are proud to have you as part of the Ralphs team, and we look forward to seeing you back in our stores."
KC's View:
It'll be interesting to watch the inevitable price war break out in Southern California. The three major chains are going to have to do something to bring people back into the stores, and they will all look at low prices as the fastest, easiest solution.

Which means that the cycle continues. Prices down, margins down, profits down…and Wal-Mart a'comin'.

Meanwhile, the UFCW has its own problems, and is meeting to figure out how to handle contract negotiations in Arizona, Baltimore-Washington, Seattle, and Northern California.