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The Arizona Republic reports that Safeway and Kroger-owned Fry’s reached a last-minute tentative settlement with unionized employees who had threatened to walk off the job last Friday night.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) will submit the agreement to its membership for approval.

Both retailers had hired temporary workers to fill in of a strike had taken place.

According to the story, “the union and companies have been negotiating for more than a year and had been stalled over health-care costs. The companies, citing soaring medical expenses, wanted the employees to pay part of their health-insurance premiums. The union contended employees had forgone raises and accepted lower wages in the past in exchange for the coverage.”
KC's View:
Good to see that the two sides sipped from the cup of common sense in Arizona. Now, if they can ship it up to Denver...

I remain convinced that at this point in the recession, it is hard to imagine people who actually have jobs walking away from them. However, I also hope that management isn’t using the recession as an excuse to squeeze employees in a way that does long-term damage to he relationship between the two sides. For an example of how retailers should view their employees, see the Costco / Jim Sinegal story, below.