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WASHINGTON - The union representing 18,000 local grocery workers in contract talks with Safeway, Inc. and Giant Food LLC is laying the groundwork for a possible strike against the chains, according to a report in today's Washington Post.
The union historically has had a peaceful relationship with the grocers. But with the chains vowing to trim wage, pension and health care costs, and with Safeway workers in California coming off a nearly five-month strike, union members said officials are telling them they must be ready for a breakdown in labor talks, the Post said.
With the local contract set to expire March 27, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 is selecting strike captains, handing out instructions for setting up picket lines, distributing the names of bail bondsmen, and establishing a local strike fund. In coordination with other local unions, Local 400 is seeking the support of elected officials in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia for a possible strike, according to the Post.