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15.12.04

Supermarket Sin

Supermarkets Still Feel Pain Of Long Strike And Lockout

Nearly 10 months after the end of the bitter Southern California grocery strike and lockout, the three companies and the union that waged the longest labor standoff in U.S. supermarket history are still in turmoil.

Profits at Albertsons Inc., Safeway Inc.'s Vons and Pavilions stores and Kroger Co.'s Ralphs are being pinched by the price cuts they've made to woo shoppers alienated by the 4 1/2 -month dispute.

The stocks of all three companies have fallen since a new contract was signed in February.

The chains maintain that they'll rebound, largely because the two-tier contract allows them to give new hires significantly lower wages and benefits than veteran workers.

-- via Kevin Drum


I find the second paragraph encouraging. Consumers are apparently realizing that when they shop at a particular store they're buying not just Oreos and instant rice, but also a set of employment policies. Unfortunately, it looks like the stores are not getting the message -- in fact, they're trying to save themselves by digging in even deeper.

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