Thursday, December 17, 2009

Split decision


"WHEAT RIDGE - After a split vote, a union spokeswoman offered conflicting statements on Tuesday as to whether any Colorado grocery workers had met the necessary requirements to go on strike.

A majority of King Soopers workers accepted their employer's 'last, best and final' contract proposal.

The UFCW Local 7's outgoing president, Ernie Duran, Jr. had urged workers to strike.

Safeway workers voted to reject the deal, but did not meet the two-thirds margin need to prompt a strike, union spokeswoman Laura Chapin initially told 9NEWS on Tuesday.

Hours later, Chapin backed off from her original assertion there would be no strike action.

A union rule, said Chapin, allowed Duran to apply the two-thirds strike authorization rule to the membership as a whole or to individual bargaining units.

Chapin said Duran chose to measure strike authorization by units, which are largely defined by city.

By that measure, some Safeway workers in select stores did approve a strike, but no action is imminent, Chapin said.

Chapin requested more time to research whether Duran's decision was made in writing and to clarify what happens in the four King Soopers"

The vote tally as of yesterday was 66% of Kings/CM employee approving the contract and 63% of Safeway employees rejecting the contract. Kings employees will continue working under the new agreement. The union had a Kings representative say that the reason Kings employees accepted the offer is because the company threatened to lock empoloyees out if Safeway went on strike. I don't think that is why the offer was accepted. The vote was simply to protect themselves in this hard economy. I am glad this is finally settled.

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