The world's 8,000-pound retailing gorilla, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), has set its sights on the supermarket arena. As Wal-Mart and even Target (NYSE:TGT) incorporate more grocery items onto their shelves, it's giving supermarket chains, such as Safeway (NYSE:SWY), Albertson's (NYSE:ABS), and Kroger (NYSE:KR), a run for their money.

Where can supermarkets find some dollars to trim, as they strive to compete and survive? Well, one key spot is employee pay and benefits. That's why roughly 70,000 grocery workers at several supermarket chains in Southern California are voting on whether to strike. Voting ends today.

A recent Christian Science Monitorarticle explains that many grocery workers currently enjoy reasonable pay and decent benefits, while their employers are looking to lower salaries for new employees and also to start charging employees more for health insurance. The supermarkets blame the need to compete with the likes of Wal-Mart, while many workers see that as an excuse to stiff them.

These issues are not new. Even Wal-Mart has faced union pressures, as this Fool article describes. Fools responded passionately to the issue on our discussion board -- check out some of their thoughts (free trial to our boards available). Also of interest might be this article on the life of checkout clerks .

If the thought of strikes and skimpier benefits has you shaking in your boots, head to our Savings Center, where you'll find guidance on how to save for emergencies. It offers some special interest rates for Fools, too. If you're more interested in investing money for rainy days in the far future, visit our Broker Center.