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Would You Cross the Picket Lines to Buy Groceries?

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It seems clear that people who shop at King Soopers and Safeway care about the plight of the employees who cut the meat, put the food on the shelves and in the bins, collect the money, bag the groceries, and round up the carts in the parking lot. But if those workers went on strike, those same, seemingly sympathetic customers might cross picket lines anyway. They have to eat, after all.

As Erwin Chaim, a retired dental technician, told The Denver Post after leaving the King Soopers at East Ninth Avenue and Downing Street, “Do the workers need to get more money? Probably they do. And are the big businesses making too much money? Probably they are. But what…are we supposed to do? I can’t stock up on enough groceries to get through a strike.”

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While others reiterated Chaim’s view, statewide workers belonging to United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 voted, as predicted, to overwhelmingly reject Safeway’s latest contract offer and to reauthorize a strike if the company doesn’t offer better wages and retirement benefits (via The Associated Press).

King Soopers workers are also anticipated to shoot down that chain’s latest offer, according to the Denver Business Journal, which reports that King Soopers and Safeway workers want the companies to return to the bargaining table and to bring an end to the dispute, which has dragged on since April. If that doesn’t happen and workers walk out, both stores say they are ready to replace them.

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