Safeway workers stuck in limbo

If issues are resolved in Denver, Western Slope negotiations could follow

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— 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."

Comments

justice4all 5 years, 3 months ago

With the economy being what it is, Safeway employees should take a step back and be thankful for what they have instead of being greedy and demanding more. If they do strike, Safeway should terminate the employees that do not show up for work or refuse to do their job. This would open the door for others that are un-employed to get their job and get off the assistance programs. There are a lot of people that would be very thankful to have a job. If Safeway does yield to these extortion tactics that a strike threat is demanding we should boycot all Safeway stores and do our business where the employees appreciate their job. After all, if their strike demands are met, it will only cost us, the consumer more at the check-out isle.

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seeuski 5 years, 3 months ago

It should be made public what the employees are paid so the public can be well informed from both sides of the argument. I agree with justice that it is nuts to expect pay increases when we are in a recession and food prices have gone up with the higher cost of fuel. If the President succeeds in his cap and tax vote today we will see prices go much higher as fuel and electricity will be taxed even more. I try to buy as much as I can from the local stores like Bamboo, Sweet Pea etc. Lets hope that the unions don't cause these big box Grocers to go the way of GM and Chrysler. As the article states they want higher pay and better pensions, sounds familiar to me.

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jmemcse 5 years, 3 months ago

What they should be voting on is to get rid of the union.

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mavis 5 years, 3 months ago

If they strike right now they deserve to NOT HAVE A JOB then they can have something to actually complain about. Then all of the people on welfare can go spend an hour a week bagging groceries and stocking shelves so they can earn their food stamps. And then the people without jobs can also go get one that they will be thankful for. Problem solved

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bandmama 5 years, 3 months ago

Gee, more money? Has anyone else noticed the lack of full shelves? The lack of products that used to be available at our local Safeway? I also noticed how quickly the shelves were stocked when Triple Crown showed up. (ahh..what about the locals who shop there year round? Are we not worth Brocoli for dinner?) I personally prefered SafeWay to City Market, but I'm a little tired of stopping at SafeWay only to have to go to CitiMarket to finish my shopping. SafeWay is closer to home and I feel, NICER parking, but I am more inclined to take my business to a store that actually has produce in the produce dept, fresh bread in the bakery and meat in the meat dept when I get off of work after 6pm. On a regular basis.... and they want more money? (sarcastic remarks aside, I feel that many of the long time employees at SafeWay ROCK! It is very unfortunate that some may loose thier jobs/income because of what is happening on the front range, we have two major grocery stores here. I would like to continue to have a choice as to where I shop as well as be able to shop for the best prices on my families income)

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