ACHIEVING MIDDLE GROUND

Supermarket operators looking to rein in costs and compete with nonunion retailers turned to organized labor for help this year.Negotiations nationwide echoed chains' worries about how wage hikes, increased medical and pension benefits, and work rules may squeeze their ability to battle supercenters, alternative formats and nonunion food retailers.Company executives and union representatives locked

Supermarket operators looking to rein in costs and compete with nonunion retailers turned to organized labor for help this year.

Negotiations nationwide echoed chains' worries about how wage hikes, increased medical and pension benefits, and work rules may squeeze their ability to battle supercenters, alternative formats and nonunion food retailers.

Company executives and union representatives locked horns in some cases, but eventually reached a compromise after work stoppages

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