Savvy employees take contract offer

City Market employees, who voted to accept a contact offer from Kroger Co., are to be congratulated.

It was a close call for employees of the Cincinnati-based company which also owns the King Soopers stores on the Front Range. They approved the contract with 52 percent of members favoring the new five-year deal, which includes rewards to long-term employees, wage increases,  health care coverage benefits for part-time workers and other items.

Employees might feel as though there still were gains to be had from striking, but prudently seem to have realized that striking in a slow-motion economy characterized by 10 percent unemployment may not have gone well for them and may have not gone down well with their customers.

It’s certainly no secret that Kroger was ready and willing to bring on temporary workers and ride out the storm. Safeway, likewise, has been preparing for a year to bring on temporary workers in the event of a walk-out.

There’s no shortage of potential replacement workers, as the unemployment numbers make clear.

The City Market clerks, cashiers and stockers who see customers daily seem to have recognized that a strike would generate backlash, especially when many of those customers are on the edge of losing their jobs, if that hasn’t already happened.

Safeway employees, meanwhile, rejected the same contract proposal, with 63 percent against it. That tells us a great deal about how employees really feel about the offer.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7 has ruled out an immediate action by Safeway employees, which marks a triumph of good sense in the dispute.

We hope that Safeway and its employees soon work out a contract resolution and concentrate on the business of selling groceries.

Grocery customers, like everyone, will value every little piece of stability in these times.


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