King Soopers and Workers Striking Out So Far When it Comes to Negotiating a Contract

May 2009

Earlier this month, King Soopers and its unionized employees extended their contract a few weeks so that they could continue to talk about wages and pensions in order to avert a strike. With time running out tomorrow, though, employees and the grocery chain remain at odds and now won't even agree to keep talking. The Denver Business Journal reports that members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 7 are "in a state of uncertainty." Workers don't know if King Soopers will lock them out--a move that could lead Safeway, under an accord, to also lock its workers out, even though Safeway and its workers just agreed to keep speaking about a five-year contract until June 15. Safeway workers have authorized a strike, if necessary, but King Soopers workers have yet to hold such a vote, notes The Denver Post. Among the sticking points, Local No. 7 is seeking to remove a system that pays employees hired after May 2005 $1 less per hour for the same job with less health benefits and no pension. Although the companies have a mutual lockout agreement, the Colorado Springs Gazette writes, they can reach settlements with employees independent of each other.

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