Safeway’s offer rejected; King Soopers’ accepted |

Safeway’s offer rejected; King Soopers’ accepted

Associated Press Writer

DENVER – Colorado union workers were split Tuesday on contract offers with two grocery chains, with one group rejecting Safeway’s last, best, final offer, while King Soopers employees accepted an offer from their employer.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 said Tuesday the Safeway workers voted overwhelmingly against the offer. The union said the workers hope Safeway Stores Inc. will continue to negotiate, even as some workers voted to reauthorize a strike.

“At this point, a strike is not imminent,” said Laura Chapin, a union spokeswoman.

The union said King Soopers workers accepted their company’s offer with some exceptions.

The grocery chains have been negotiating with workers on a new contract since April. The employees have been working without a contract since May 9.

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Safeway spokeswoman Kris Staaf said the company’s contract offer was similar to the one King Soopers workers accepted. She also said the union had yet to give Safeway an official vote count, and the company has been hearing conflicting information.

“We have thus far heard only informal reports that some (Safeway) units ratified the offer, some rejected it but failed to authorize a strike, and we’ve heard reports that some may have rejected the offer by the two-thirds necessary for employee strike authorization,” Staaf said in a written statement.

King Soopers spokeswoman Diane Mulligan said the company could not immediately comment because it also has yet to receive an official vote tally.

Albertsons workers are waiting for more contract talks.

The union represents about 17,000 workers at Safeway, Albertsons, and Kroger Co.’s King Soopers and City Market chains.

The offer that workers began voting on in late November covered 52 months, and included signing bonuses ranging from $150 to $1,000. The highest-paid workers would receive raises of 30 cents an hour the first year and 25 cents per hour in subsequent years. New workers wouldn’t have to wait as long to get certain health benefits.

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