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The Sacramento Bee reports that “Raley's is ramping up the pressure on its workers to swallow contract savings, taking steps that could provoke the first strike in the supermarket chain's 77-year history.

“Fed up with months of fruitless labor negotiations, Raley's refused late Friday to extend the contract with a Bay Area unit of the United Food and Commercial Workers.”

A strike is not seen as inevitable, since workers are continuing to work and get paid under the terms of the old contract, and negotiations are continuing on an almost daily basis.

But Raley’s - which has been closing stores as it seeks to improve its financial situation - clearly is looking to make a statement about how far it is willing to be pushed.

The story notes that “Northern California's other union chains, Safeway and Save Mart, are also locked in difficult talks with the UFCW. Along with Raley's, contracts with 60,000 workers are at stake. But Safeway and Save Mart appear to be on friendlier terms with the union.”
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