Grocers Turn Down Colorado Union Offer, File to End Contract Nov. 3

DENVER - In the increasingly contentious contract talks between supermarket employees and major Colorado grocers Safeway, Albertsons, and King Soopers, corporate negotiators for the three retailers have rejected the United Food and Commercial Workers union's compromise offer to settle the dispute.

The union, which represents 17,500 supermarket employees in the state, made offer Wednesday night. Through the federal mediator, the grocers rejected the offer when talks began again Thursday morning.

"Workers want to settle this at the bargaining table, not the picket line," said UFCW spokesperson Dave Minshall. "Workers will bargain 24-7 if necessary to head off a strike." According to Minshall, the companies had rejected the union's offer as "not good enough."

Also today, King Soopers, Safeway, and Albertsons officially filed papers to end the current contract statewide at midnight on Nov 3. The contract between the grocers and the union originally expired Sept. 11, but has been extended. Earlier this week it emerged through the union's release of letters to the press that the grocers had a plan to share revenues and losses in the event of a strike, an action the union believes is illegal. The companies say the agreement is privileged and has nothing to do with contract negotiations.

Negotiating sessions are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Denver.

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