The state is set for another supermarket strike in the Los Angeles area – and that would be an even more serious mistake for the industry and its workers than the last one. The times are changing for a lot of industries and their work forces these days, and the 139-day grocery strike that ended in February 2004 was a dramatic example of that trend. During the long months of the strike, Southern Californians changed their grocery-shopping habits and turned to the alternatives – Trader Joe’s, Gelson’s, Whole Foods, Vallarta markets, the ethnic makers in every corner of the city and the bulk food stores, like Costco. The grocery chains lost an estimated $2 billion, and workers lost months of wages. They really don’t want to drive shoppers to the alternatives and hurt themselves even more in the future. And in the end, the shoppers won’t notice much of a difference. They’ll be too busy checking out the fresh, organic produce at the farmers market or the deals at Trader Joe’s.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! And if the current impasse forces another strike, it would surely be another blow to the grocers and their workers. The grocery workers union, the United Food and Commercial Workers, has a responsibility to negotiate the best deal possible for its workers. And Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons must fight for what they can afford to pay with already thin margins. But it’s a drama that ought to be tempered by the knowledge that nobody really wins in a strike and by economic realities of a changing industry. Workers and the grocery chains are each struggling for economic survival. In this fight, however, sanity must prevail or both sides will suffer gravely.