Colo. Safeway Workers in Limbo After Rejecting Deal

A day after workers in Colorado turned down a contract offer from Safeway — but accepted a virtually identical deal from King Soopers — it was unclear what their next step would be.

DENVER — A day after workers in Colorado turned down a contract offer from Safeway — but accepted a virtually identical deal from King Soopers — it was unclear what their next step would be. Only certain bargaining units also voted to authorize a strike, according to United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 here, which represented the workers.

The overall vote to reject the contract was nearly 63%, but less than the two-thirds majority workers would need to authorize a strike, reports said.

An earlier move by Local 7 to strike Safeway was not sanctioned by UFCW International leaders in Washington and led to the "last, best and final" contract offer — the fourth offer that Safeway workers voted to reject since negations began in April.

The UFCW International on Tuesday in a statement said it would work with Local 7 "to explore all options to reach the best outcome for UFCW Safeway members and all Local 7 members."

A union spokesman told SN that may include further negotiations, another vote or a strike. Kris Staaf, a Denver-based spokeswoman for Safeway, told SN Wednesday that the company had not received a formal accounting of the voting results. She added however that it would be unlikely that Safeway would agree to a settlement that would put it at a disadvantage to King Soopers, its largest competitor in Colorado.

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