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The Denver Post reports this morning that unionized workers at Safeway and King Soopers have voted to reject the latest – and supposedly final - contract offers made by the two chains, and asked that the two sides return to the bargaining table. At the same time, Safeway employees re-authorized a strike against the supermarket chain, though no date or deadline has yet been set.

Negotiations have been ongoing for six months.

According to the story, “United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 officials said Safeway workers are asking for livable wages and secure pensions while King Soopers workers are asking parent company Kroger for a contract that doesn't include cuts to wages, pension and health care.”

The two chains are said to be reviewing their options – one of which, presumably, would be a lockout and the hiring of replacement workers pending some sort of settlement.
KC's View:
While I want to be clear about the fact that I am not taking sides in this debate, I also want to reiterate that it is hard to imagine employees going out on strike in the current economic environment. I would hope that the two sides can avoid that kind of fractiousness, and continue talking in good faith, because one thing is for sure. Finding replacement workers won’t be difficult in a state where the unemployment rate is about 7.3 percent (not as bad as the national stats, but not good) and where more than 100,000 jobs have been lost in the past year.

Besides, in a separate story this week, the Denver Post reported that anecdotal evidence suggests that if faced with a strike, many consumers would cross picket lines rather than inconvenience themselves.