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    Major Chains Brace for Strike in Washington State

    YAKIMA, Wash. - Four supermarkets operating in Yakima, Wash., are bracing for a possible strike after asking workers to have their benefits scaled back in order to better compete with the nonunion Wal-Mart, which is expanding in Central Washington, the Yakima Herald Republic reports.

    YAKIMA, Wash. - Four supermarkets operating in Yakima, Wash., are bracing for a possible strike after asking workers to have their benefits scaled back in order to better compete with the nonunion Wal-Mart, which is expanding in Central Washington, the Yakima Herald Republic reports.

    Albertsons, Safeway, Fred Meyer and Top Foods have made little progress in negotiations this month, and the local union last week gave notice to terminate a temporary contract. Employees could strike as early as Friday.

    On Wednesday, the union and the employers' representative, Kirkland, Washington-based Allied Employers, issued a joint statement saying both sides have agreed not to "discuss the details of bargaining at this time," and that they will meet again today and Friday.

    The four stores have begun hiring temporary clerks, meat cutters and stockers in case of a strike.

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