Steamboat Springs Decisions made statewide could affect whether Steamboat Springs' Safeway employees go on strike.
Laura Chapin, spokeswoman for United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 7, said Safeway workers' contract expires today. The workers voted May 8 to approve a strike, which was put on hold while negotiations continued. The union now is waiting for corporate officials to set negotiation dates, she said.
The contract in question is only for Denver-area workers, said Kris Staaf, Safeway spokeswoman for the Denver region, which includes several states. The company hasn't presented a settlement offer to the Western Slope union, she said. Local union members are working under an extension of their previous contract, Staaf confirmed.
"A lot of times what'll happen is the Western Slope will follow Denver," she said.
Safeway employees on the Front Range rejected Safeway's most recent offer this week.
"We have a strike authorized if we decide to go that route," Chapin said about the Denver-area contract. "But hopefully what will happen is the corporation will come up with a new contract for the workers that actually provides decent wages and pensions."
Staaf said Safeway offered wage increases. Pension plans are taking a hit all over because of the economy, she said.
The union represents City Market, Safeway and Albertsons workers. City Market contracts expired at the end of May, Chapin said. City Market workers have rejected contract offers. Only Safeway employees have authorized a strike.
Staaf said she expected bargaining dates to be set soon.
King Soopers runs City Market, and its parent company is Kroger Corp. According to the workers' union Web site, "Front Range King Soopers workers voted by more than 90 percent margins to ask the corporation to get back to the bargaining table and offer them a fair deal that doesn't include wage, pension, and health care cuts."
According to that information, 94 percent of Steamboat Springs retail workers voted to send back the contract for more negotiations.
Wages, pensions and health care have proved to be sticking points, Chapin said.
"Right now, they are only offering wage increases for people at the very top level," she said.
Staaf said Safeway has offered pay increases across the board.
Chapin and Staaf said their groups wanted to continue discussions and avoid a strike.
"Nobody wins in a strike, not the employees, not the customers," Staaf said. "What we need to do is continue to negotiate and look at these tough issues."