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    Kroger Reaches Tentative Union Deal

    Strike caused shutdown of 44 stores in three states.

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kroger Co. and a grocery labor union have tentatively agreed to a contract, according to the Associated Press. The two sides set up a vote for tomorrow, which will allow 3,300 workers in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky to decide whether to end a two-month strike.

    Labor troubles in those three states and California and Indiana have hurt the supermarket chain, which also operates 794 convenience stores. Third quarter earnings fell 57 percent, primarily because of the strike, the Associated Press reported.

    The strike does not affect convenience store workers.

    The company reduced its forecast for the rest of the year.

    The chain closed 44 supermarkets in the three states, and Kroger spokesman Archie Fralin said it could take up to 10 days to reopen them if union members ratify a new contract this week, the Associated Press reported.

    Shares of Kroger stock were down 58 cents, or 3.2 percent, to close at $17.31 on the New York Stock Exchange, after the company posted lower profits, according to the news report.

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