Local grocery workers vote ‘no’ on contract

Across Colorado, City Market agreement approved, Safeway’s denied by workers


— Grocery workers at Safeway and City Market in Steamboat Springs voted to reject a contract offer with management, but statewide, City Market workers voted to accept a similar offer. Statewide, Safeway workers rejected the offer.

The retail workers at Steam­boat’s City Market were among just four King Soopers and City Market departments in the state that voted to reject the offer, joining the meat departments in Fort Collins, Greeley and Pueblo. The meat and retail departments at Steamboat’s Safe­way voted to reject the offer.

Laura Chapin, spokeswoman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in Colorado and Wyoming, said it’s now Safeway’s turn to respond.

“The workers have an open-ended offer to the company that we will sit down any time, any place, anywhere,” she said.

Because City Market and King Soopers accepted the agreement, the workers will be presented with the 52-month contracts.

Longtime Steamboat Safe­way worker Jim Engelken said the contract negotiations have not affected the local store.

“Our disputes with the company have nothing to do with local management,” he said.

Engelken said he has worked at Safeway for 35 years and has never personally been on a strike, though he did walk the picket lines at the old Kroger when it was in downtown Steamboat.

“I can tell you that in my experience, every time there’s contract negotiations, both sides rattle a lot of sabers,” he said. “What I hope happens is they go back to the bargaining table and come up with a better offer.”

Engelken said he has not attended any of the bargaining sessions between management and the union, but he said he voted in the decision. Overall, just more than half of the union workers in the Local 7 union voted in the mail-in contract vote, according to a news release from the international union office.

Michael Staley, the Western Slope representative for the Local 7 union, said a strike is not imminent and that the final decision about whether to strike must be sanctioned by the international union office.

No meetings between management and union representatives have been scheduled.


ProfessorScrappy 7 years, 4 months ago

I know nothing about your strike, but I know what is driving it. It has nothing to do with the value of anyone trying to earn a decent living. Of course, they deserve decent wages and health benefits, just like you do. Walmart drove the CA grocery strike. Wall Street told the major grocers (Safeway, Albertson's, Kroger) they had to get labor costs in line with Walmart, or when the Superstores arrived, they would not be able to compete, and Wall Street would recommend a "sell" on the grocer's stock. Safeway CEO, Steven Burd led the fight against the grocery workers in CA, but first, he cashed in stock options to the tune of $20 million.

The local union stood in front of stores and got abused for 6 months. The grocers didn't care they lost $1 billion, because they had sales of $21 billion. They would have lost more than that if Wall Street had recommended "sell" on their stock. The national union came in late and picketed Wall Street, but they still lost: pay cuts, long periods to get health benefits, part time hours, long vesting periods, two tier pay scales, pension cuts, no profit sharing, bonuses for managers gone, etc. You know, the Walmart model. They laugh as the grocery employees get abused, as their smear campaign to demonize you is in full force. You should be picketing in front of Walmart stores, and your politican's offices.

Walmart is in the grocery business, they are in your community, and they are there to stay until the tax credits run out. Now all must follow that business model. If you don't, you are done. Your politicians are being paid to let them in. Look to find which politicians-local and state, board members, advocacy groups, community groups, that are receiving donations from Walmart front companies Walton Enterprises, Carrie Penner (Walton), Rocking W Ranch, Llama Sports Mgmt, and their financial conduits Arvest Bank Group, True North Partners, Quantum Partners, JPL Corp., or Bank of Bentonville.

The Walton family (4 worth $20+ billion each), The Bush family, the Eli Broads, the Bill Gates, the Donald Trumps, the Warren Buffets, the Rupert Murdoch's, the Wassermans, (to name a few) are the Robber Barons of our times. They enrich themselves and their cronies, while you toil in poverty. How many of these infamous collapses: Bernie Madoff Securities, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, Adelphia, Washing Mutual, Countrywide Funding, IndyMac Bank, Conseco, Semgroup, S & L crisis, Housing crisis, does it take to convince you.

(FYI: Teachers are going to do a NATIONWIDE job "action" on March 4th, 2010 to protest the neo liberal [social justice thru market solutions] anti-union forces in America. We are all pawns in a social engineering experiment from D.C. )

Look deep, it's happening in your community. It's all true, research it, I dare you. Let me give you another word of advice, go get another job, you have lost already, and then vote those politicians out of office as soon as you can.


JLM 7 years, 4 months ago

Having spent a good bit of time around the Wall Street crowd let me echo most of what Prof Scrappy says. He is a bit extreme in his pinning the tail on all the donkeys mentioned but one thing that he says is completely true.

The new cost paradigm from the grower/vendor/supplier to the grocer to the customer is the WalMart model. Don't like it? Too bad and too late.

WalMart, Sams Club, Costco --- that is the wave of the future. Every new grocery store will be twice as big as its predecessor, offer fewer services and employ half as many workers at substantially lower wages.

Wall Street is basically a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrat party but they are also the final arbiters of stock value of the public grocery companies who are small enough to be controlled (that's everybody except WalMart) by Wall Street.

These corporate grocery executives who hold enormous amounts of wealth in the stock options of their companies are just putting up enough fight to get their stock options exercised and then it's ADIOS, AMIGOS!

Don't believe me? Tell me who got whole first in the Obama administration --- Wall Street or Main Street? Who's running the Treasury? Goldman --- freakin' --- Sachs!

The union leaders themselves are playing into the game. They collect union dues from both Republican and Democrat members and then put all their chips in the Democrat pile. What do they get for their members? NOTHING!

They got work rules and rates of compensation which will ensure their members will be out of work within a decade. Who is buying the American car companies? CHINA!

China is buying Volvo, Hummer and the list keeps growing. Think those Chinese auto workers will be members of the UAW? LOL --- well, maybe not!

Who approves these sales? Uhhh, the Obama administration.

Today they are making Toyota Tundras in San Antonio at less than half of the labor cost as Chevy pickups made in the same state. You think this just going to work itself out?

Remember Card Check? Well, it ain't gonna happen. The Democrats gave the unions GM and they are not getting card check.

The funny thing about this whole mess is that it is the Democrats screwing the Democrats and the only real winners are the corrupt elected officials, Wall Street, the union leadership and the CEOs. All these guys are interested in is the short term personal gain and the members be damned.

Follow the money! Follow the money! Follow the money!


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