In what many consider an important battle for organized labor, 70,000 grocery workers remain on the picket lines in a three month long strike against Southern California grocery stores. The United Food and Commercial Workers last met with management on January 11, but broke up with little progress being made. Federal mediators hope to bring the two back to the bargaining table by the end of the month. The fight is over employee contributions to heath care, with management claiming reductions are needed to be competitive against large discounters and unions claiming it is an excuse to cut benefits. "This is an employer offensive against the unions. They are determined to use this opportunity that Wal-Mart superstores are taking over to substantially weaken union wages and benefits," said Lowell Turner, a professor at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. "It's a strike and lockout aimed at the extraordinary inequality that has developed in American society."