SAN FRANCISCO — The three major chains in Southern California violated anti-competition laws in 2003 by signing a mutual strike assistance agreement during a labor dispute, according to a ruling this week by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals here. The chains — Supervalu-owned Albertsons, which was independently owned at the time; Kroger-owned Ralphs and Safeway-owned Vons — had contended the agreement was permissiable under the collective bargaining process. However, the court ruled the ...

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