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On March 6, 2011, the contract of more than 54,000 unionized grocery store workers in Southern California expired. After more than six months of negotiations, on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, the union representatives at the three major grocery store chains (Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons) agreed upon a new three-year contract, averting a massive strike.
The last strike and lockout among Southern California grocery workers occurred in 2003-04 and lasted 141 days; since then, the three big grocers have been losing market share. Dr. David Smith, associate dean of Academic Affairs and associate professor of economics at the Graziadio School of Business and Management, offers his insight into the case and its larger implications for labor unions as a whole.
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Labor Pains: The Recovery of the U.S. Labor Market is about to be Pushed Back