Denver - Safeway workers across the state have overwhelmingly rejected the grocery chain's counter-offer and re-authorized a strike first approved on May 8.
According to a statement late Wednesday from United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 7, employees voted unanimously in most locations to reject Safeway's latest bid, because it did not provide "livable wages and a secure retirement," according to the statement.
No date has been set for a strike.
This is a bad deal for everyone involved. If Safeway strikes, Kroger employees are looking at the possibility of a lock out. It makes sense that the company has to protect itself. Safeway employees in the grand valley have been extremely disgruntled for a very long time, they have poor management and have been treated very badly by Safeway. The decision that Safeway made years ago to cater to the upper income public was a failure. That decision was made and then the economy changed. Kroger, on the other hand, made a decision to get as competitive as possible with Wal-Mart. Not an easy task given the union and requirements of the company. Kroger doesn't do the volume that Wal-Mart does, and this is a low margin, high volume business. But Kroger has made incredible strides, they have worked at it for five years.
I'm told this could have all been settled in February. A vote was called for raises, benefits and pension...no one showed up. So here we are. This is a scary proposition. In the store I work at, there is almost no one who wants to strike. Many of the workers in that store are single and some are single parents who can't afford this and are scared shitless now. Now we are in a no win situation with a horrible economy and no public support. It is a shame no one showed up to vote in February, we could have saved ourselves a lot of grief. If the company locks us out, I'm out along with everyone else even though I'm management. I'm not happy about any of it. I've been working hard to rebuild a life and am dependent on that paycheck to move forward. Sadly, the area that I live has few jobs to begin with, and if we are locked out, there will be even less. While I have more tangible skills than many of the people who work in these stores, I will be hard pressed to compete in an already tight job market, just like everyone else.