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The San Francisco Bay Area’s three major chains – Safeway, Albertsons and Kroger’s Ralphs - have told unionized employees that they will not extend their contract beyond this Saturday, when it expires.

Negotiations between the two sides are continuing.

A spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) said that the decision by the chains “increases the likelihood that something bad could happen” – which sounds like either a strike or a lockout.

Until this point, both sides had seemed intent on avoiding the more-than-four month strike that roiled the Southern California market about a year ago.
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