LABOR UPDATE….Good news! That four-month lockout at Southern California supermarkets that ended in Safeway slashing pay and cutting health benefits for its workers is working out swell. Thanks to the cost cutting, they’ve managed to scrape by for another few months:

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based parent of the Vons and Pavilions grocery chains said Thursday that fiscal third-quarter profit jumped 42%….

Analysts said that labor dispute, which resulted in a contract that reduced benefits and pay rates for new hires, was finally paying off for Safeway.

“There’s no question the restructured labor contracts have had a positive impact” on the company’s bottom line, [analyst Craig] Hutson said.

Yep, that was a close call. Without the new contract profit might have increased only 10% or so. Can you imagine?

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