Local grocery workers could strike

City Market executive warns of lockout in event of Safeway strike

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— A union official said Friday that a potential strike of Safeway workers, and a related possible lockout of City Market employees, would affect the companies' stores in Steamboat Springs and Craig.

Western Slope contracts previously have been negotiated separately from - and followed the lead of - those of Front Range grocery workers. In this case, however, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 7 spokeswoman Laura Chapin said negotiations have been combined and a strike, if initiated, would include unionized workers in Northwest Colorado.

Chapin said Western Slope workers make a dollar less an hour than their Front Range counterparts, an issue being contested in the contract negotiations.

Safeway workers voted May 8 to approve a strike, which was put on hold while negotiations continued. When the latest round of talks broke down Tuesday, however, the union asked for approval from its headquarters in Washington, D.C., to allow a strike to begin.

"Workers are prepared to go on strike because the company has been giving them the same bad offer since May," said Chapin, who said workers' pension plans were the biggest sticking point in negotiations.

Chapin characterized the approval from union headquarters as a formality that is expected within days, but she said a strike is not necessarily imminent because Safeway could reopen negotiations and make concessions to prevent it. Safeway spokeswoman Kris Staaf did not return a phone call and e-mail seeking comment Friday.

Workers at King Soopers and City Market stores, both of which are owned by Kroger Co., have not approved a strike but also have rejected contract offers from the company. In a letter to employees Thursday, Dave Savage, vice president of retail operations for King Soopers, wrote that the company would lock out its unionized employees if Safeway workers strike.

"If there is a strike against Safeway, King Soopers may be forced to lock out our associates, and the union knows this," Savage wrote. "It is not something we want to do, but something we will need to do to protect our business."

Savage's statement applies to City Market and King Soopers stores.

Savage said the union is behaving recklessly and not negotiating in good faith. He encouraged unionized employees to demand an up or down vote on an agreement. Chapin said King Soopers could negotiate with its workers separately and would not be forced into locking them out but has decided instead to negotiate mutually with Safeway.

"Lockouts are absolutely god awful because it's really confrontational," she said. "People who want to work are physically prevented from it."

In addition to wages and pensions, health care costs also are at issue between the union and the companies. United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 7 represents 17,000 workers in Colorado.

Should a strike and lockout occur, Chapin said it would be the first such event since 1996, when there was a strike and lockout for 42 days at Safeway and King Soopers stores.

Comments

seeuski 4 years, 11 months ago

Union thugs. Fire the Unions, go non-Union and see how many new workers will be happy to accept the hourly pay that the Union says is too low. Miss Chapin, how much of the paychecks that these Unionized employees get go to the bums in DC? Are you a member of SEIU? Hey people, if the Unions get their increases and the Cap and Tax bill passes we won't be able to afford to eat anymore, we will be the ones fighting the bears for food at the dumpsters.

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Jason Miller 4 years, 11 months ago

Seeuski they are with the UFCW not the SEIU.Which is also a great institution.Im also a proud member of the UFCW.As for union thugs,i rather be around them,then wall street crooks.There is a HUGE difference between the non union grocery store i use to work for and union one im at right now.Better pay,medical and loads of other benefits.For all my brothers and sister out west i salute you.

http://www.ufcw.org/

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seeuski 4 years, 11 months ago

We are hip to the thug unionization movement that is under way with your leader in the White House.

This is taken and quoted from the website you linked up here. Defend that.

"Representing 6 million workers, seven unions--UFCW, SEIU, Teamsters, UNITE-HERE, Laborers, Farm Workers, and Carpenters--are a part of Change to Win, a new alliance devoted to creating a large-scale, coordinated campaign to rebuild the American Labor Movement."

We know the desire to unionize the health care industry, Obama even made it clear,"he meets with Andy Stern" to discuss it. The same organized attempts just failed against personal home care givers. Just because the UAW stole GM and Chrysler from the Bondholders VIA Obama doesn't mean we don't have a fighting chance to stave off card check and the rest of the assault on private property. So the question remains jester1cp, what percentage of your paycheck goes to the Boss's?

Oh, and the attack on Whole Foods that you guys were behind was a joke. Compare any unionized bagger at Safeway with the salaries and bennies at Whole Foods and you may want to reconsider your place of employment and union status.

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Amy Harris 4 years, 11 months ago

Public support for unions is at its lowest level in over 70 years, and i will bet that the grocery workers will not find much sympathy should they strike.

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max huppert 4 years, 11 months ago

Well when you have to manage union employees and actually see how much more of a chanllenge it is you will definatly have a different opinion on the matter.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 11 months ago

Most of us are satisfied with a chance to compete, unions want to short circuit the system and gain advantage through legislation. Obama followers choose the path of a free ride which will be the death of our system. These thugs choose not to compete, which is the reason they target government employees, there is no competition for their services. Politicians such as Governor Ritter allow state organizing to reward unions for their contributions, we get to pick up the tab for all their bennies and pensions.

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seeuski 4 years, 11 months ago

max are you possibly saying that these union employees tend to have a fire me if you can attitude? Another interesting link at the Grocers Union site is their association with the New World Order of Uni Global Union.

http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/iportal.nsf/pages/thm_20090122_jgryEn

Our sovereignty is coming to an end and as Rahm Emanuel said, "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before." Globalize the wealth?

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trump_suit 4 years, 11 months ago

See,

Your paranoia is simpliy astounding. How anyone can tie a Grocery story strike in Steamboat Springs to a global conspiracy is beyond me.

I hsve never been a fan of the unions, and have declined to join one the two times in my life that it was offered. But you see conspiracy and evil doing behind every door. Don't you think it is just possible that this particular union strike has absolutely nothing to do with our current President?

It might just be about benfits and pay. They may or may not deserve benefits and pay, but to blame the administration and tie this to a global social conspiracy seems a liitle fruitcake to me.

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Antonie 4 years, 11 months ago

Most workers are initially satisfied with a chance to compete, until that chance reveals a path of no improvement in work conditions, benefits, opportunities for advancement, etc., regardless of, and in no proportion to, how well the business is doing, or how much more work they are asked to do.

As a business/company/government deals with its employees, it is wise to consider this, and more. Poor "people skills" by HR people, and management that has forgotten the people who make their business successful, will eventually drive their workers to seek assistance in the form of a labor union.

Labor unions are not all thugs, any more than all business owners are mean, greedy, and heartless. They often simply attempt to level the "playing field". But name calling is certainly evidence of a closed mind.

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seeuski 4 years, 11 months ago

trump, I do agree that the local situation has nothing to do with it as you say, but if you choose to ignore the big picture as it relates to the growth of Unions here in the USA and the aggressive tactics being used in the card check scam and the activities that the dues are used for in politics then you will certainly misunderstand my positions and points. All these Unions are in lockstep politically which was perfectly expressed in the Grocers Union picketing the Whole Foods chain for what the CEO of that company said about the health care issue. To me these Unions are a danger to our future as is evidenced also by the theft of GM from the Bondholders. There is so much more that can be said and shown to exemplify the Union tactics as I describe here, a search on youtube will get you all sorts of videos showing the thuggery in action. Another point to be made is that a strike that shuts down our only two mainline Grocery stores is also adding to my blood pressure. I just reread the story and it is clear to me that the Union is playing hardball as it is reportedly about the pension plans. Do you think this is the time in this recession/depression for increasing pay? The country is in double digit unemployment and this will only cause an increase in food prices.

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Scott Glynn 4 years, 11 months ago

Unions were a great invention..........in 1942. It's not 1942 anymore. As a son, grandson, and nephew of many UAW members, I have seen how unionization has taken one of the most powerful and resourceful nations in the world, and relegated it to a labor force with such a sense of entitlement that it has paralyzed itself. Unions are a great invention if you like to reward mediocrity.

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kathy foos 4 years, 11 months ago

Do you think that employers in the last hundred years would have done anything to improve lifes of people with out unions?You forget the sweat shops,child labor,deaths at work,etc. before the people united to make conditions better for future generations at work.Unions brought the standards up for everyone at work,and they do train qualified people for the job and safety necessary to get the job done while avoiding death or injury if possible at all.Can we afford that in this economy?Maybe if people would not have hired so many illegals in the last 20 years and invested in our own childrens future in the trades,mexico and other countrys wouldnt have such a big bite of our economy in their pockets.Also I would have made more money to raise my children,they would have better jobs now,You cannot blame unions for surviving intact the sellout of american workers.There are never any store closures from a strike for wages,only union workers who worry about having to survive the strike,How about the skilled union workers used to build power plants ,government secure areas,etc,If they are so bad why would the government prefer to use them,it is because they are professional workers trained specificly for the job.Hang in there unions,things would be really bad without you

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gravity 4 years, 11 months ago

Only companies that deserve unions have them. Unions are another proof that power corrupts,but they are also proof that business will only treat its workers with as little respect/ compensation as it can. Most comments above are union; pro/con, and ignore the reason for the potential strike. How is it that the workers in the front range earn a dollar more an hour for the same job. This is the same front range where you can pay almost 10-15% less for the groceries then we do here. It must be that the quality of life here so much better, or the cost of living lower here that the grocery business can pay a lower wage. Hmm. As individuals the grocery workers would have no way to negotiate a wage; so their only option is to group together. There is plenty of evidence of unions behaving poorly, and abusing the power that the group gave them, but this is equalled if not over shadowed by the behavior the companies that employ them. Only companies that deserve unions have them.

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aichempty 4 years, 11 months ago

Antoine,

If the height of a peson's ambition is to be a clerk in a grocery store, they should be satisfied with what they have. The way to get ahead in this world is not by having the union negotiate a better contract. It's by doing something to make yourself more valuable.

Employers definitely abused workers in the past, and righteous union activity helped correct the situation. Then, it was the unions that became abusive.

The last time Safeway employees went on strike, they already had some of the best-paying jobs in town. Just having a steady job was a great thing back then.

I knew a registered nurse working here in town who was not making as much as a Safeway clerk (making more per hour, but getting fewer hours). She was accosted in the parking lot for crossing the picket line. She could have replaced a Safeway clerk and gotten a bump in pay, benefits and security. That's the kind of thing people need to see here in Steamboat.

I recommend the market in Hayden. It's worth the extra miles for a weekly shopping trip, and they all speak English, and you don't get the "tude" from either the clerks or the patrons that you get in Steamboat.

Sometimes I get the idea that half the people shopping in Safeway have a serious case of the munchies, and half the people working there have sobered up enough to be depressed. Maybe the problem has nothing to do with working conditions.

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JLM 4 years, 11 months ago

There was a time when unions provided a service to their members but that time has come and gone. Unions once upon a time provided apprenticeship programs which qualified members to work at a myriad of businesses.

Apprentices became journeymen and journeymen became masters. Wages increased accordingly. Masters could start their own businesses.

The union itself provided job information in cooperation with employers. A member could report to the union hall and be directed to an employer. That is no longer the case.

The functions of unions in the marketplace have been replaced by stringent employment laws --- virtually every unfair employment condition which unions historically attempted to influence is now completely governed by Federal employment law. The EEOC exists solely to ensure such laws are followed and respected. Law and case law very much in favor of the employee.

Employers have become enlightened and employees seek to work for "good" employers whose practices attract and retain good employees.

Unions today have devolved into quasi-political organizations in which the dues of the members are aggregated and disbursed as political largesse with no consideration of the views of the individual members who have provided the funding. The Democrats are the primary beneficiary of these funds.

The union management has become big business paying salaries and providing benefits equal to the most highly compensated CEOs in America all from the wallets of their members. A cost which is ultimately passed along to the American consumer.

Make no mistake about it --- the United Auto Workers had a huge influence on the demise of General Motors --- huge!

The corruption of unions is typified by the linkage demonstrated between such corrupt organizations as ACORN and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) --- both political beasts and both founded by Wade Rathke.

This convergence of corruption has a detrimental impact on the marketplace and endangers the very jobs which the unions purport to protect.

There are 700 million Chinamen who are willing to work for about $0.50/hr and are able to make the goods and provide the services which America wants.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 11 months ago

sun, Unions get jobs like power plants through political connections or sabotaging non union companies politically. I was around the Hayden plant and the unions decided when they had achieved their pound of flesh. If they wanted three years of work that's how it came down. Management reluctantly went along, or they would not be on the job. What a waste, made me sick!

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kathy foos 4 years, 11 months ago

Fred I give credit to you that you are a major competitor over the years without a union,this has been an area of the state that construction unions just never got a handle on.In order to live here I always had to go non-union to get a job,now I have lost 15 years I had built up for retirement and have nothing to show for a retirement but social security,that is the current state of events.Maybe if employers cared about the future of employees they could consider that in with the profits and go union so it could help out with the social situation of the country.I would be suprised if these stores are asked to strike,on the front range my sister does every time at king soopers,some one off the street came to take her job for awhile,but the companys always take them back and they continue to go back and continue their lifetime jobs.Even when I was a member of a union we were not happy with some of the politics involved,but to be afraid of the unions at this point when there just barely any left is just silly.Every one is different and dont put them down untill you have a better replacement.Oh by the way that was the only time in my life that I made enough money to be comfortable buying food and I had health insurance for the whole family.Is that asking too much from a company,I guess so.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 11 months ago

In the end it all comes down to bang for the buck, unions can extract booty by their politics but the piper must eventually be paid. Much of this living beyond market forces ends up as national debt and we are in real trouble. In the end there is no free ride, but many including unions will take theirs now and let the chips fall. Those willing to compete will get the short end in order to subsidize union power. This explains my disdain for unions.

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seeuski 4 years, 11 months ago

The common thread here amongst the union members is what about me and the common thread here amongst those of us that see it differently are what about free enterprise? The unions ruined the American auto brands competitiveness and they are on the march to ruin the Health industry and the economy through a cost of living increase during recessionary times. We are not against the worker and there are plenty of federal laws like minimum wage, maternity etc.etc that protect the rights of workers. Why is it that Walmart has been able to fend off the disease up to now? What is it that makes a chain like Whole Foods rated around #1 as a place of work? Both non-union. And sun if you aren't smart enough to invest better than the majority of Americans then don't feel so bad, we have all been clobbered in this economic catastrophe. How can you expect business owners to plan for your future while they have their own families futures at stake? Geez, you people have obviously been promised the world on a platter and rah rah'd to death. Taxing the rich and stealing Auto dealerships and Manufacturers from their rightful owners will not work either. We defeated fascism once and it looks like it is rearing its ugly head again but this time it has a friend in the highest place.

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Jason Krueger 4 years, 11 months ago

To all the anti-union "free marketplace" posters. The unions were not responsible for the destruction of the US auto industry. The "unions" had absolutely nothing to do with designing cars that didn't work or the industry's failure to embrace new technology. Inept senior management, poorly engineered vehicles, and diversification into industries that had nothing to do with cars is what destroyed Detroit. It is not the union airline pilots that are destroying US commercial air travel. It is the inane flying experience that is destroying travel. Unions didn't decide to deregulate the airline industry and create the "hub" network which now guarantees every passenger "can't get there from here" regardless of where they want to go. Again, this was senior management. It is not unions that are destroying corporations across the country. It is a continual belief from wall-street and management that employees are an expendable commodity and success can only be measured in quarterly profits and not by actually "producing" something. It was corporate decisions in the '80's that decreed full-time employees could be replaced with freelance/contract workers with the accompanying short-term profits. Now those same corporations bemoan their inability to retain skilled talent. Certainly there are problems with unions just as there are problems in every aspect of business. But to claim the downfall of our country is their responsibility is nothing short of moronic. Posters like Duckels, JLM and seeuski (only one of which is even worth listening to as he stands behind his statements with a name; the rest of you aren't worth the electrons it takes to produce your blogs) continually blame the people with the least amount of control over the situation. In blogs regarding military mistakes, they blame the privates and lieutenants; never the top brass. In business they blame the workers, never the corporate parasites, and, according to them, government is ALWAYS the problem (although in an ironic turn, JLM seems to be in love with the amount of "regulation" the government has supposedly imposed on employers thus rendering unions unnecessary). Their definition of free market is a market which is only "free" through narrowly defined parameters which solely appeals to them and no one else. They live in a fantasy world believing this is an issue between a small "entrepreneur business owner" and his lazy employees ignoring the obvious fact that none of these companies are "small" and the majority of them have long since abandoned anyone at the corporate level who possessed any vision on how to truly make a company profitable in any way other than by cooking the books. To the workers at Safeway and City Market, I hope it doesn't come to a strike but, you won't see me crossing the picket lines if it does.

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kathy foos 4 years, 10 months ago

Oh yes union workers try to buy AMERICAN,blame yourself for the china deficit.

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JLM 4 years, 11 months ago

@jk ---

Get a grip on a bit of reality. Just a bit.

The UAW was certainly a huge player in the demise of Detroit. They destroyed the cost structure of the American automobile industry.

Witness the Toyota San Antonio manufacturing plant cost structure on labor alone v Detroit for the most pedestrian and mundane automotive commodity --- pick up trucks. No great design advantages. A cab, a bed and a motor. No high design issues here. No huge management differences. Selling boxes on wheels. Utilitarian vehicles.

Toyota has a labor advantage of over $2,000 per vehicle because it has no legacy UAW costs. The cost advantage is greater than the freakin' profit margin! The workers are Americans. They have time after time rejected any attempt to organize a union. Their jobs are secure.

UAW has no political clout? No stroke in the system? They own about 65% of Chrysler and 18% of GM on a fully diluted basis.

I guess we can see how well Chrysler and GM fare in the future as a barometer on the UAW?

The biggest beneficiary of the "cash for clunkers" program? Well, that would be Toyota. The non-union shop.

No reasonable or intelligent person would suggest that the UAW has had no impact on the fate of Detroit.

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Jeff_Kibler 4 years, 11 months ago

Where are you going to shop for groceries? Bamboo Market or Steamboat Meat & Seafood or Sweet Pea or Hayden Mercantile or Healthy Solutions? I don't believe any of the aforementioned are union shops.

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JLM 4 years, 11 months ago

@jk ---

"It was corporate decisions in the '80's that decreed full-time employees could be replaced with freelance/contract workers with the accompanying short-term profits."

You are engaging in a diatribe which has absolutely no basis in fact.

Your apparent total ignorance of the implications of ERISA (Employees Retirement Income and Security Act of 1974) and how it impacts the design and deductibility of benefits programs as it relates to "contract" employees and how it is enforced by the IRS is pure fantasy.

An ERISA violation --- as an example, pretending that full time employees are "contractors" --- renders the deductibility of the company's entire benefits program vulnerable to being disqualified and thereby not being deductible under the IRC (Internal Revenue Code). A huge risk for very little gain.

To say nothing of the prospect of finding a bunch of auditors to bless such an illegal arrangement.

Keep it real.

There is a lot of stuff you can rant about without having to actually know anything. Stick to that stuff!

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mavis 4 years, 11 months ago

in the real worls people are taking pay cuts to keep their jobs-- maybe if they strike people that are willing and wanting to work will get hired and the customer service will increase and I who't have beat up apples and smashed bread.

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JLM 4 years, 11 months ago

No prudent employee or any thoughtful union leader would consider a work stoppage at a time when the economy arguably offers an employer the opportunity to replace the entire work force at a lower price point.

What responsible union asks its membership to forego a good job, a paycheck and to picket in the cold at a time like this?

There will be plenty of folks who simply cannot forego a paycheck in these times and they will not walk out. The unions are setting their folks up to bust their own union in the long run.

While the PATCO strike during the Reagan presidency was a bit different because PATCO had no right to strike and in fact work stoppages of all kinds were expressly forbidden by very contract they sought to re-negotiate, Reagan was as good as his word. He fired all striking employees, refused to re-hire them, hired new workers and simply made the system work by sheer force of personality.

The Russians, interestingly enough, took great note of Reagan's toughness in this situation and it had a great impact on their view of his resolve.

Smart unions do not strike during a recession, during high employment, during a time of ample low cost replacement labor and when their members are hurting.

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kathy foos 4 years, 11 months ago

You can also get great deals at select sooper in oak creek and at montgomerys in yampa ,.also toponas.I wont cross the line. Then there is wonderful walmart to help out in Craig ,they always seem to do well,in the city they get all the business in a strike,in fact they get most of the business as it is now and as you said they are not union.It is called free enterprise and any thing is fair game.Dont forget when these people hire on ,the companys tell them to join the union to get the job.So the way I see it people are there to do the work for the money,corporations can do as Fred has ,its their choice dont blame the workers

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seeuski 4 years, 11 months ago

We aren't against the workers it's the abuse of the workers by the union hierarchy and their wielding of their political clout that is the ultimate issue with me, if this was just about the good of the workers and the health of the companies we would all be in lockstep here. The fact is that sun stepped on the poo pile in an earlier post about his pension fund, why are the union pension funds under water? Why do workers like sun believe it is the companies fault when the union dues that were meant for those funds have been violated? It is time that the union workers stand up to their masters and demand an accounting of their pension funds. Hows that Krueger? You write well but it is all from your sense of your own worldly center where you come up with your truths. I continue to find it amusing that when people are confronted with their flawed belief system they just attack the messenger as is the case with the POTUS and FOX News. Master cracks the whip and the subjects obey.

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seeuski 4 years, 11 months ago

As far as the picket line, are union thugs going to physically harm the residents of Steamboat Springs because they want to eat?

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 11 months ago

Striking during the deepest recession in 60 years has got to be one of the worst tactical decisions ever.

A couple years ago, Safeway and City Market had real difficultly filling job openings. Their pay scale had become less than free market hourly pay. Now if there is a strike the jobs will be filled in a day.

Unions made sense when there were no workplace safety, discrimination or other standards when the only way to get a fair and safe workplace was to organize. When the unions got their agenda largely passed they also removed much of the reason they were needed.

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seeuski 4 years, 11 months ago

I agree Scott. The money and power has corrupted from the top. It seems a lot of money was spent during the 2008 campaigns and for some weird reason suns and many other members pensions are low.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 11 months ago

And striking for a pension plan in this day and age has also got to be one of the dumbest things ever. Hasn't the union seen enough pension plans go under to realize that a pension plan is of dubious value?

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Kevin Nerney 4 years, 11 months ago

To borrow a phrase from the late Paul Harvey "for what it's worth " here is my take on the union talk. First, if Jimmy Hoffa was around during the air traffic controllers strike he would have banded all unions together and shut the country down (no rail no trucks no air) nothing would have moved until the controllers got their jobs back. As for Wal-mart how many products do the sell come from American workers? As for Toyota much of there payroll savings come from using robots(how about jobs) the robots undoubtably built overseas. Wall St. doesn't need a union because they have Uncle Sam throwing money at it. When big business needs to protect it's interest it's called lobbying. When workers need to protect their interest it's called a union. (same thing) If anyone thinks corporations will pay top dollar for employees out of the goodness of their hearts I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. That's the reason for minimum wage. Bosses always want to go as cheaply as they can. Fred when you bid a job don't you have to pay union scale so the state can compare apples to apples, you just get more production out of your guys compared to union workers? I'd produce twice the work for twice the pay. Back to Safeway. It made a billion with a "B" dollars last year. Prices are lower then they have been in years. Is this because Safeway is cutting into it's own profits and want to be nice guys? of course not They are squeezing the farmers and suppliers and employees. I could carry on and on but it would be futile . It's not socialism or facsism it called capitalism and we all want our fair share. Why could the American family live on one salary when we were kids and today it takes 3 salaries just to break even?

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kathy foos 4 years, 10 months ago

The power is with the corporations not the people and many of your points are true seesuki ,but lets live in the now not decades ago, that is not reason,just predjuice.

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seeuski 4 years, 10 months ago

So Kevin were you compensating your staff above the minimum scale enough for them to live on just that wage? Or would that have been impossible without jacking your prices up or getting a bailout? And yet another voice in the anti profit war. So Hoffa, the murdered union Mafia Boss, would have declared war on the US gov't? As for the foreign products being sold at Walmart, take a walk through the doors of any store here in town like Light and Sons and see how many "made in the USA" tags you can find, good luck. We might as well consider ourselves little China we owe them enough anyway. And the automated assembly lines don't apply in the US factories? No wonder the Big 3 can't compete, thanks for the candor on that one. Kevin, again it is not a bias against the fair treatment of workers that some of us are about here, it is the abuse of the money and power that unions have come to represent in the last few decades. It is true that many unions have done great things for workers but politics have taken over and it is evident just by the words of those union leaders themselves. Go to the websites, most all of them link to each other and how is it they all seem to support the same issues at the same time? That starts to look like fascism my friend, too much centralized power.

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kathy foos 4 years, 10 months ago

I have crossed picked liines before it just means you walk by your checker to get in the store and buy what you want.Since there is only one store here, doubt that this one will be asked to strike like the others.I dont believe that companys should provide pensions for us,but maybe hiring union ones that do could help out .Its the corporate choice,workers cant tell them what to do.Fact is Seesuki you eat union food and now you are worried you will starve to death?Thank goodness for small business,wouldnt want to inconvience anyones dinner,yeah Its a free country,Why not give the grocery workers credit for doing a good job and a big thank you to king soopers(city market) and safeway for hiring our union community members.?One more thing,since all unions are so different,dont classify auto workers with grocery workers with construction workers etc. Maybe that would work in Hoffas day ,but things are so different now its necessary to take them one as one.The auto industry has nothing to do with the grocery workers,the cool ones are the truckers they can rule,too bad there are so many mexican truckers now.

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Kevin Nerney 4 years, 10 months ago

Seeuski- not that I have to justify myself to you, but yes I paid my waitstaff more then twice the minumum wage. Also when I was back east and doing home renovation work, if I bid a job for 5 days work and my crew finished the job in 4 days they got paid for 5 days work. That's called incentive.

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Stan Zuber 4 years, 10 months ago

Jason K. and Kevin N., very well said.

A couple hundred years ago one of the greatest Unions was formed in the world, these United States. There was a time when this union provided a service for the good of it's members. Has that time come and gone? The reality is that most of our footwear, clothing, and steel are imported, to name a few. Goods that we use to produce ourselves and made the Union strong. I wonder why our Union leaders let that happen? You might look at your taxes as Union dues to help support the Union. Are the dues being dispersed without consideration of the views of the membership? We all belong to one of the greatest Unions in the world and it and it is only as strong as it's members. "United we stand, divided we fall"

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seeuski 4 years, 10 months ago

Why would I blame myself sun? I always look for the "made in the USA" tags. You should know by my posts that I am someone who loves the USA. Kevin, I did the same kind of thing in my small business days and I did not need a union to force me into it. My employees always were paid before I was and it was not uncommon that I went without so my employees received what they earned. And I gave my workers bonus's when the company had a good week or month not if they worked faster. I appreciate hard work, I don't appreciate entitlement activism.

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Duke_bets 4 years, 10 months ago

seeuski - You're at it again with posts painful to decipher. Is your keyboard actually missing the period and comma?

Do you have no food if City Market shuts the doors? The minimum wage is about to be lowered. Is that what you support?

Why bring up the bailout? To liquidate your argument? GW caused the bailout.

You actually stated that 'politics have taken over'. Really? Duke bets that Iraq and Afghanistan will agree with that statement.

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seeuski 4 years, 10 months ago

Stan, your right. How do we stop the Obama Administration from this huge economic globalization policy like Cap and Tax? Our current leaders/Democrats won't allow the US work force to efficiently extract the fossil fuels that our economy relies on and will continue to rely on into the foreseeable future. Instead we are sending billions of US taxpayer dollars to offshore drilling outfits in Brazil that are owned by George Soros and we are sending 1/2 a trillion US taxpayer dollars to a company in Europe owned in large part by Al Gore to produce a luxury line of cars that will run on batteries. These things could and should be done right here on American soil with the sweat of the American worker. I agree Stan, how are we allowing this to happen right before our eyes?

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seeuski 4 years, 10 months ago

Thanks Duke, I will take your argument into consideration that my less then perfect grammar skills cause you to have an understanding malfunction between the ears. Maybe that describes why you walk around totally dazed and confused on the issues and why you never seem to have an opinion of your own. And in what country is the minimum wage about to be lowered in? Well maybe you have one point that could be rationalized here as the unemployment rate, obviously Bush's fault, is to blame for millions of Americans to have NO income.

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JLM 4 years, 10 months ago

The simple truth of it is as the economy becomes progressively more globalized the labor practices of the rest of the world (e.g. China) become more relevant than historic American lablor practices.

Unions and union thinking are dinosaurs! Jimmy Hoffa is not relevant to today.

Read James Kynge's excellent book on China --- "China Shakes the World" --- and then decide on the relevance of union protectionism, political activity and benefits.

Kynge speaks Mandarin and has lived in China for going on three decades and has written for the Financial Times for a quarter century. This is a particularly insightful tome. It will make you pucker up a bit to hear how the Chinese have purchased archaic steel plants in Germany (Krupp, no less), relocated them to China, modernized them and have become the world's lowest cost producer of steel.

China is undergoing its Industrial Revolution in which a small bit of equipment is being married with a great deal of inexpensive labor buttressed by a huge font of production knowledge and expertise to produce extremely cost competitive goods and services. [Of course, they are also cheating big time stealing every design in the marketplace and reverse engineering everything while knocking off every luxury brand on the planet. But that's another issue and it is not going to get better, ever!]

America is faced with a workforce which must become more productive by utilizing more and more technology to offset labor advantages of its competitors.

Unions simply cannot deliver compensation --- wages and benefits --- which are above the market. Market forces will force the compensation equation to regress to the mean. In a recession, that means wage concessions not wage increases. That's reality.

Given that reality, unions should focus on preserving employment, being an active participant in modernizing the workplace by training their members and fashioning strategies to make union labor more attractive.

Hell, even the Obama administration has given up on actually "creating" jobs preferring to focus on the fiction of jobs "saved". Unions are sowing the seeds of their ultimate destruction.

Card check anybody? Hmmm, I think not!

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 10 months ago

If they're gonna strike, they'd better jump to it. The valley's about to be overrun with 20-somethings from all over the world who will quite happy to nail down a paycheck. And if the pickets go up, I'll have no compunction about crossing them.

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trump_suit 4 years, 10 months ago

Lets see if I have this right.

The unions have betrayed their public trust. The banks have betrayed their depositors trust. Wall Street has betrayed their investors trust. The Gov't has betrayed the publics trust. The corporations are all the most benficial of organizations because they function under capitalism. Illegal drugs are the root cause of all evil. Fox News is the only honest news station.

Everything that is wrong is Obama's fault.

Did I miss anyone?

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trump_suit 4 years, 10 months ago

Seriously now,

The unions were needed during the times that they were created. Any research into coal mining history will show that. The corporations at the time had to much power and were abusing the rights and safety of ordinary people. Without a common voice, that will always be true.

Today, the pendulum has swung, and many of us are blaming the unions for the lack of productivity and progress. While this may have some truth to it, it does not explain the entire marketplace and each issue should be analyzed on its own merits.

Cases in point:

  1. It is absolutely nuts that the UAW managed to negotiate full wages for workers that sat in the break room with nothing to do. How does this happen?

  2. How is it that workers for the Safeway union in Denver make $1 more per hour than their west slope counterparts who are doing the same job with the same exerience for less money? It actually costs more to live here, so it seems that it should be the other way around.

Just like the rest of the issues facing our country today, this one is not black and white and does not fit into a nice little box. As always there are good points and bad for each side of the conflict.

Some of you see Gov't intervention and socialism at every turn and yet the truth does not quite look like that. Yet more of you insist on a complete capitalistic market because business knows best. The truth requires someone to set some regulation so that abuses can be monitored and curbed.

All of you make some good points, but there seems to be not a single soul that sees any middle ground. Unless we can find a way to bridge our differences about these issues, our country is on a slipery slope to failure.

For the record. ACORNS total budget would not make a dent in the HWY 40 reconstruction, but some of you seem to think they are controlling the entire Democratic party. Whats up with that?

Unions are political. Really, with all the lobbyists money floating around our Gov't it is hard to blame them. How else can you get any infuence with congress to get your issue heard.

Color me neutral on this issue, I don't know enough about this union to know whether this is right, wrong or indifferent. I do know this. What ever the issues are in this particular negotiation you can bet that Barrack Obama has nothing to do with it. Socialization is NOT their goal, just a good job for their members and finally, Each of you should spend a week in their shoes before slamming union members for their "Lack of amibition and productivity" There may be another side to the story that you are unaware of.

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JLM 4 years, 10 months ago

Unions are allowed to participate directly in the political process at the Federal level by aggregating the dues of their members which are, in effect, paid by their employers.

The unions' management is not bound by the sentiments of their members but can allocate their support as the management alone sees fit. Even if the membership is 50% Republican/50% Democrat --- the money is contributed 100% Democrat.

The employers, corporations, are forbidden from participating directly in funding politicians of their choice.

The employers, in effect, are forced to fund support for politicians who oppose what the employers desire.

Wow, now that's a fair system!

Maybe, unions should not be able to participate in funding anybody but the welfare of their members?

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JLM 4 years, 10 months ago

Capitalism has delivered the highest standard of living in the world to a brand new country which was formed at the point of a bloody bayonet in revolt against a King over such subjects as taxation and representation.

The governing principles of the founders of that country were based upon faith in God, hard work, fairness and rewarding risk taking. Remember all of these chaps had risked an ocean voyage with a mortality rate of approximately 15%.

Capitalism pays homage to market forces and reacts to the realities of the markets --- growing in good times and retrenching in bad. It is based upon reality.

We are the United States of America not the Federal Republic of America. The power of the US lies with the States not with the Federal government which was created by these very States.

Governing philosophy is what unlocks human potential which allows an individual to reap the benefits of his own labor.

California --- big state, long coast, international markets, ag, oil, manufacturing, immigration challenges, big population --- liberal governing philosophy --- on the verge of bankruptcy, runaway unemployment, wild emigration, wildly expensive housing/utilities/cost of living.

Texas --- big state, long coast, international markets, ag, oil, manufacturing, immigration challenges, big population --- conservative governing philosophy --- solvent, mild increase in unemployment, inexpensive housing/utilities/cost of living --- filled with Californians! LOL

Governing philosophy has a direct impact on the quality of life of citizens --- it determines the quality of life!

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seeuski 4 years, 10 months ago

How can someone who has no knowledge of what ACORN is up to make a definitive statement that their budget would not make a dent in the puney a$$ rt. 40 project? This kind of bury your head in the sand mindset to reality is why this country is so divided. Someday when you are not so umbilically connected to the Obama agenda trump you may be able to receive the facts.

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trump_suit 4 years, 10 months ago

A little google research turns up these ACORN gems.

"The New York Times in a 2006 article, however, stated that ACORN's budget for that year, not counting its research spinoff and the ACORN Housing Corporation, another tax-exempt charity among ACORN's affiliates, amounted to $37.5 million. "

"Wade Rathke, ACORN's founder and, until this past summer, CEO, writing on his blog "Chief Organizer" on June 18, the very date of Kingsley's critical report, estimated that ACORN's total budget for 2008, counting all affiliates, would likely be a record $110 million. "

With offices in most states, these budget numbers barely make a dent in the size and scope of even local Government let alone the national numbers.

Denver -$855.6 million Chicago - $5.94 billion Indianapolis - $ 1,221.6 Million

ACORN is a tempest in a teapot that has been blown completely out of proportion by the right wing media. There is hardly enough money to matter. I don't wish to place ACORN in a positive light here, they are clearly suspect on many levels but the size and scope of their influence is negligible on a national level.

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trump_suit 4 years, 10 months ago

JLM,

I agree that capitalism has made this country what it is today. The free market will always come up with the most cost effective solution. There are however restraints that need to be placed upon it becuase left completely unchecked, the free market will abuse the very citizens that support it.

Case in point is the Health Insurance industry responding to Wall Street profit demands instead of the real business of providing affordable healthcare policies. Left unchecked, they have eliminated every risk factor possible by denying coverage and playing hardball with the very individuals that have paid their premiums.

In my personal case, my wife and I had converted a COBRA policy to an individual policy. After paying our premiums for two full years with nothing but preventative care claims we received a letter that our premiums were going to increase by 250%. When we complained to the company and the state, we received another letter from the insurance company that said "we are only able to increase your rates by 40% per year due to state regulations. Your premiums will increase by: 2005 - 40% 2006 - 40% 2007 - 40% 2008 - 40%

Tell me that they had justification to increase my premiums 4 years in advance. THis is called purging and is an example of free market abuse. AIG would be another example. Without appropriate regulation individuals (serfs) will be abused by those in power.

This is the same reason that individuals have banded together into unions so that their voice would be stronger. There needs to be checks and balances on both sides of the equation.

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JLM 4 years, 10 months ago

@ trump ---

Without initially commenting upon your observations about healthcare, I would suggest that you may be mixing your issues. The "union" issue is quite separate and distinct from the health care debate.

While I do not oppose common sense regulation of free markets (e.g. I am greatly opposed to short selling in general and naked short selling in particular. Specific examples of what I believe to be excellent SEC and securities guard rails.), I am a big fan of allowing for creative destruction and the unleashing of competitive forces in the market place.

An example of what can happen when free enterprise is challenged by market conditions is the recent inception of Cost Co's health insurance initiative and Dell's electronic medical records initiative. Both are in response to a marketplace which has failed to provide an otherwise competitive product. This is the comely side of capitalism turned toward the camera.

I would suggest also that the very legislators we look to to "solve" the problems of healthcare are the very source of many of the problems. A particularly pointed example is the unwillingness to standardize health insurance contracts nationwide while such standardization has not generally been opposed nor legislated out of competition in such insurance industry applications as liability, property and casualty insurance.

In the instance of your specific example of COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Recovery Act of 1985) was in fact strengthened(?) by the provisions of ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) which provided for the reduction of and payment by former employers of premiums with an offset against payroll taxes owed by employers. A cobbled together idea but one that many feel is meritorious given the times. You be the judge of that.

COBRA was intended to be a bridge not a safe harbor and while 40% is stiff increase it is nonetheless the difference between pooling risk --- age, health, size of pool, etc. and is a simple reality of the difference in underwritten risk given the real differences between a group and an individual policy. It is an "eggs by the dozen" issue and not an insurance issue.

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JLM 4 years, 10 months ago

Continued (sorry) ---

I must say I am confounded by the reality that purchasing cooperatives have not been formed to create efficiencies. After all almond and orange (Sunkist) sellers have found ways to form such cooperatives. At the end of the day, Sams Club is just a glorified purchasing coop with a targeted profit attached.

In closing, I would suggest that your rant that the health insurance industry is somehow responding to Wall Street expectations is both wrong and naive. It is wrong in that most insurance providers are multi-line insurors for whom health insurance is only part of the product mix and that Wall Street is a necessary evil if public funds are going to be accessed to strengthen the balance sheets of these companies --- the balance sheet providing the measure of financial strength which ensures performance in the face of otherwise bad operating results.

If you suspect bad faith, you must be aghast at the prospect of financial failure.

In the case of AIG, they were both stupid and incompetent. It was further compounded by the fact they were broke.

A strong enough balance sheet can overcome stupid and can buy enough time to improve competence.

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trump_suit 4 years, 10 months ago

No, I am not mixing my issues, I am using two current topics of the day to express my beliefs about capitalism and its effects on those issues.

You did not answer my fundamental question: How is it justifyable for the insurance company to tell me that my premiums will be raised by the legally allowed amount for 4 years into the future? There is simply no way that they had a reasonable belief that I would be causing those kinds of expenses 4 years in the future?

This is exactly the kind of abuse that corporations will inflict on the populace without some kind of oversight and regulation. The free market needs to know what the boundaries of the playing field are, and what the rules of the game will be. This includes some boundaries on their actions.

Left unchecked, the free market will destroy the enviroment for profit, will run private citizens into bankruptcy and will lobby the Gov't for leniency to do more with the profits made. They will also ship your job to China for that .50 per hour because it makes them more money.

Regulation is a necessary evil to balance the inherent greed of the corporation. It has always been a part of our free market society and there will always be this debate about the proper response to the crisis of the day.

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JLM 4 years, 10 months ago

@ ts ---

Stop playing the victim.

Like any other good or service, you have to shop around to find the best deal. The supplier is not responsible for delivering the best deal to you. That's why outlet malls work so well.

You are the market, my friend. Take your business elsewhere and make the market dance to your tune.

Capitalism is a two way street and you must vote with your dollars.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 10 months ago

Trump, The health insurance industry is now working on the assumption that the main reason that an individual will buy personal health insurance or continue on a Cobra is because that person knows they will have expensive health bills. So they assume that if you as an individual are willing to pay then you are a bad risk.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 10 months ago

Milton Friedman once characterized the "original sin of health care" (paraphrasing from memory) as making employer based health care [which comprises the vast majority of American coverage] excludable from taxation. The result is that none of us are really concerned about the cost.

Elimination of that tax break would incent the actual consumer - not the employer, which is primarily interested in its own bottom line; not that of its workforce - to make his own decision based on affordability; and make appropriate trade-offs according to individual need. To be a real consumer, in other words.

The political reality is that such a radical disruption of the status quo is probably unworkable in one fell swoop, and a more incremental approach would probably be required. A good first step would be to extend the tax favored status to everyone; not limit it to employers alone. That would at least level the playing field and encourage individual citizens to get into the game. Removing the barriers to interstate competition would give us a game to get into.

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JLM 4 years, 10 months ago

The low hanging fruit:

Remove all obstacles to standardization of health insurance contracts nationwide.

Greatly expand Medical Savings Accounts --- hey, you're self insured for the maintenance of your car why not the maintenance of your own body?

Create a Sams Club --- stock exchange --- of health insurance options with a bid and ask pricing approach.

Tort reform.

Institute binding arbitration v litigation exactly as in the securities industry.

Tax deductibility of individual/private health insurance policies.

Get the AMA's thumb off the scale as it relates to the number of doctors being produced.

Produce more doctors annually.

Upgrade the duties which can be performed by RNs and increase the number of RNs in conjunction with more doctors.

Deliver healthcare in the community. Reinstitute home medical visits by the increased number of doctors and nurses.

Develop a nationwide hospice system --- make it easy and inexpensive to die.

Drive wellness by providing incentives and mandating an annual physical for everybody. Use the results of the annual physical to create a grade --- like a credit score --- to be used in the pricing of insurance in a bid and ask format like a stock exchange.

Cancel Congress' health insurance program and tell them they get what we get. LOL >>> hey a guy can dream can't he?

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Kevin Nerney 4 years, 10 months ago

Why can't king Obama just use the stroke of his pen. Executive Order No.1 "All legal Citizens of the USof A are now covered by the same insurance as the US Congress." no arguing ,dicussion, case closed, end of story. Next case!

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