December 16 2009, 10:25 AM
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local Number 7 has been negotiating with King Soopers and Safeway---the region's largest grocers---for months on end over a new, five-year contract for Colorado workers. Wages, health-care benefits, and pensions are all sticking points as grocers seek to rein in costs. Now, King Soopers workers have voted to accept a contract offer (via Denver Business Journal). Safeway workers, however, voted to reject a similar contract, leaving open the possibility that workers there could strike, although no work stoppage is on the horizon. Instead, the union wants to sit down with Safeway's suits and once again negotiate---even though the chain recently claimed it had submitted its "last, best, and final offer" to workers. King Soopers workers voted "with some exceptions" for a contract offer. There have been no details from the grocers, who say they are awaiting formal notification of the vote results (via 9News). Workers from both chains, as well as Albertsons, have been without contracts during negotiations and voting, notes the Colorado Springs Gazette. In an unrelated story that's sure to affect Albertsons' bottom line, the chain will pay $8.9 million to 168 black and Hispanic workers who say they were subjected to racial provocations, including a bathroom graffitied with images of lynchings and swastikas, reports The Associated Press.