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BOULDER, Colo. –

Three major grocery chains in the Boulder area are preparing for possible employee strikes that could begin as soon as Sunday, prompting two of the stores to search for thousands of temporary workers.

Officials with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 7 — which continued to negotiate Wednesday with Safeway, King Soopers and Albertsons stores — said the first vote on whether to strike will take place with Safeway workers at the end of this week.

How those union members vote — which could include accepting new contracts, continuing negotiations or to go on strike — will likely dictate how King Soopers and Albertsons workers follow, union officials said.

Laura Chapin, spokeswoman for the union, said workers are still mulling offers from their employers. The sticking points include pay raises and pension plans, she said.

“From our perspective, these grocery stores are very profitable, but all they’re asking from the people who are making these profits (for them) are cuts,” Chapin said.

Calling grocery stores, “pretty much recession-proof,” she said grocers should be offering better pay for the lowest earners — baggers and checkout clerks who often earn minimum wage.

“They want to freeze people at the bottom tier,” said Chapin, referring to an offer put forward by King Soopers’ management. “Most checkers top out at $7.60 an hour.”

Diane Mulligan, spokeswoman for King Soopers, said the company is offering to raise pay for its “journeymen workers” who have hit the top tier of pay for hourly workers. The company is also offering to contribute nearly $35 million into employee retirement accounts to compensate for money lost in the stock market earlier this year.

“Of course, we don’t want a strike,” Mulligan said. “No one wins at a strike.”

King Soopers stores in the Boulder area employ a mix of union and non-union workers, Mulligan said. Union members at most stores in the region are employed in the meat and deli departments only. That means a potential strike would not impact baggers, clerks, bakers or customer service workers.

Still, one Boulder King Soopers meat department employee, who asked the Camera to withhold his name because he could lose his job for speaking with the press about the negotiations, said all of his fellow workers are worried that a strike could be imminent.

“Everybody’s worried,” the worker said. “We go through this every five years or so.”

He said most union members are concerned about the possibility of a lockout, where employees could be prevented from working if Safeway workers vote to strike before employees at the other companies have the chance to vote on the new contracts.

Crisanta Duran, an attorney representing the workers’ union, called a possible lockout part of the “corporate agenda.”

“We are very much worried that the companies have a similar agreement to what they did in 1996,” she said, referencing a strike authorization by King Soopers that led to a more than 40-day lockout by Safeway.

The current five-year contracts between labor and management at all three grocers expire at midnight Saturday. If an agreement isn’t reached by then, the grocers would be in a scramble to hire thousands of temporary workers across the state.

King Soopers joined with Safeway stores this week in seeking applications from thousands of people to fill temporary jobs in the event of a strike.

A bright-green sign advertising the positions Wednesday sat outside the King Soopers at 30th Street and Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder. A store manager declined to say how many applications he’s received so far, but customers said they noticed the signs right away.

“It’s a difficult situation,” said shopper J.R. Garrity.

Garrity said “clearly there are people who need jobs right now,” and a strike might be a win-win for current employees in the long run, and for those out of work who would fill those jobs temporarily.

Christine Wilcox, a spokeswoman for Albertsons, said that company does not have plans to accept applications for temporary jobs.

“However,” she said, “we have plans in place to ensure that our stores are properly staffed in the event that the union chooses to instigate a dispute rather than reaching a resolution at the bargaining table.”

The Albertsons locations in Louisville, located at 910 West Cherry St., and in Lafayette, at 555 West South Boulder Road, are staffed with non-union employees and would not be affected by a strike.

Boulder’s three Safeway stores, however, are all unionized with a combined 325 workers.

Kris Staaf, a spokeswoman for Safeway, said the Boulder locations have seen a steady increase this week in the number of applications being turned in for temporary jobs — which would fill nearly every position if workers went on strike.

“We’re hopeful of reaching a settlement,” Staaf said. “But we also need to prepare for the possibility the labor union will initiate a dispute.”

Staaf said the Boulder Safeway stores are a prime example of the difficulties facing the grocer nationally, because of growing competition with non-union grocers like Whole Foods.

“Twenty years ago you had a handful of grocery stores — now you have competition from non-union stores,” she said.

Robert Porath, 63, of Boulder, said he was part of a labor union years ago and agrees with the workers’ right to strike for a better contract.

“I think that the fall of the unions has helped destroy the middle class in America,” Porath said.

If the workers do strike, he said, customers shouldn’t cross the picket lines.

“That’s the way you support the working-class,” he said. “You’ve got to support them.”

Contact Camera Staff Writer Heath Urie about this story at (303) 473-1328 or urieh@dailycamera.com.

Archived comments

Jesus_was_a_socialist

You have a rag already. It’s called the WSJ.

FrictionSouled

5/7/2009 9:56:19 AM

You plebes are still talking about this? Ugh… go away.

Jesus_was_a_socialist

5/7/2009 5:57:33 PM

Air America is on AM 760.

Pogi

5/7/2009 11:00:07 AM

deserving, that is

orbison

5/6/2009 9:43:44 PM

“No one wins at a strike.”

Seems like a no brainer then….

Boulderelder

5/6/2009 8:06:42 PM

Er, why would any sane person purchase anything in Boulder?

You can save 30% on groceries by driving to Westminster or Lafayette.

annoying@annoying.com

5/6/2009 8:08:30 PM

What do I care? I’m rich and my assistant buys my food at Whole Foods.

Could we please get some news for rich people like me? Let the commoners get their own newspaper.

Jesus_was_a_socialist

5/6/2009 8:09:57 PM

annoying: Prices at King Soopers and Safeway are the same wherever you go.Even if the prices at those stores in Westminster or Lafayette were less, you would spend even more money on gasoline to get you there, plus you would be wasting more time, and time = money.

On another note, why would I even shop at those stores with the unwashed masses when I could just go to Whole Foods?King Soopers and Safeway suck.

wilson

5/6/2009 8:16:41 PM

annoying–

Nice n’ green too, driving your F350 to Westminster to save a dollar.

BTW, you ever been to the grocery store/deli out at the Westminster Kings?Worst King Soops in all Christiandom.On a positive note, perhaps a strike will close down the Safeway at 28th and Arap FOREVER! Then I won’t have to hear that annoying checker with the short white hair, glasses, and wrist thingees ask me in that awful high-pitched voice”do you need help out with thaaaaaat?”You know the one don’tcha?

BO OUT!

BoulderzOwn

5/6/2009 8:40:31 PM

Kind of slimy when a person offers to make a comment anonymously because they could lose their job by helping someone else (Heath Urie) with the article only to have DC leak not only their employer and the city but their department and their gender.How many men might there be in the meat departments of the two King Soopers in Boulder who have been there over 5 years?

marlasinger

5/6/2009 9:13:40 PM

Who cares. My maid buys my groceries, raises my children, and tucks me in at night.

BoulderBurnout

5/6/2009 9:19:48 PM

To all the employees of King Soopers and Safeway — Good Luck!I hope you can get a liveable wage.I shop at King Soopers, but won’t if you strike.You work hard — can’t believe checkers have to stand while working — and should be paid a decent wage.

Tina

5/6/2009 9:23:09 PM

Oh goody!maybe then my teenager can actually find a summer job in this economy by crossing the picket lines!

mamabear

5/6/2009 9:38:50 PM

I stand in solidarity with the employees of Safeway and King Soopers (don’t shop much at Albertson’s)! I won’t cross that line!

BoulderzOwn – I know exactly the person you are referring to and, all things considered, she is a very sweet person, derserving of respect and kindness. Play nice.

orbison

5/6/2009 9:40:04 PM

BO – you HAVE to hear this checkout person?As in you have no choice in the matter, that you’re inexplicably drawn into this store every time and then into her checkout lane.Wow.She must have some power over you.I’m gonna tell her about your obsession next time I see her.For accuracy, I’ll describe you as the short effeminate kid with the limp and reddish neckbeard.May you two live happily ever after!

Dr_Belfrey

5/6/2009 9:48:50 PM

President Obama stands with the unions and so do I and so should we.It will be up to us to support the employees of profitable companies by withholding our dollars if a strike becomes necessary and is implemented.

BoulderConfidential

5/6/2009 9:51:38 PM

I never shop in any of these stores —

they are always doing a cheesy remodel, blowing your socks off with loud muzak, or coming up with some other scheme to get you to buy things you don’t want or need —

the alternatives are only slightly better —

problem with the strike — if it lasts a month, let’s say, and you get a compromise solution on the pay worth maybe a point or two, you’ll prolly have to work three years to incrementally retrieve the income lost by striking —

…but good luck, karl marx feels your pain

Robert_Paul_Smoke

5/6/2009 9:58:57 PM

I guess the economy is not so bad after all?

Look at all those jobs available.

The recession is over.

inert_gas

5/6/2009 10:01:00 PM

Well if those stores do go on strike, Super Target in Superior will be lots and lots more busy. Gdod, you all can come there for better prices, products and produce.

coolpooh

5/6/2009 10:11:30 PM

Strike? In this economy? Seriously?

Good luck to you. Non-unionized employees in this economy are happy to have jobs. I’d never be caught out front of my place of employment with a sign in my hand, because I know just how many people would gladly take my place.

KR

5/6/2009 10:14:57 PM

It’s time we show labor unions the door. If non-union shops are so terrible, why does anyone even work there?

There was a time and a place for unions, but I think the UAW debacle with GM and Chrysler has shown us all that this time has passed.

Less work for more pay…what a concept. Anybody with experience dealing with some type of union will tell you how impossible and difficult they are to work with.

Geez we almost didn’t get the DNC this past summer because of a stupid union dispute.

The grocery stores need a Ronald Reagan figurehead to go air traffic controller on these workers. They can’t be nearly as difficult to replace. Maybe I’ll be a scab on evenings and weekends when I’m not at my full time job.

Labor unions…GO AWAY!!!

Roark4

5/7/2009 12:12:19 AM

By the way before you all flame me, please realize I used to support labor unions. My mom is even in a teacher’s union.

Things changed a few years back when I tried to get a night job at UPS for 20 hours a week to augment my daytime job during summer break. I of course realize the wage was decent, but for a part time summer job I couldn’t justify taking such an outlandish mandatory, flat-rate paycheck deduction for union dues. I don’t even remember the exact figure, but it amounted to nearly 1/3 of my paycheck. After Uncle Sam took his chunk I’d be lucky to see 50% of what I earned.I actually did the math and I would have made more money working for minimum wage at the mall where I’d at least have the chance to stoop for hot suburban trim.

I guess if you work full time the math may be a little more in favor of working there, but not by much. Regardless, I didn’t have a choice and I turned the job down to the chagrin of the supervisor who singled myself and one other college student out of the crowd at the meeting due to our “potential” and outstanding resumes. I’m sure he thought differently after I told him what he and his union could do with their mandatory dues.

Flame away Hoffa lovers…

Roark4

5/7/2009 12:40:50 AM

I will cross the picket line and buy lots of food.

The time for unions has passed.

We live in a global economy…get use to it.

John_Galt

5/7/2009 4:55:10 AM

When the unions are broken….

Employees real wagesincrease because they do not have to pay union dues. Employers benefit because they do not have to deal with unions.

Consumers benefit because an expensive layer of quasi-management is eliminated, reducing the need to increase prices..

Everyone wins except for those poor card-checking union bosses. Good riddance!

SoldierInWarofIdeas

5/7/2009 6:13:47 AM

Unions?Really?Those things are still around in the 21st century?Really?

NukesInBoulder

5/7/2009 6:14:05 AM

I never thought any stores in Boulder County were Union. I had to complain many times about many things I had learned years ago when I worked for a Union store in Denver. Talking with employees I often heard rants against the Union throughout Boulder county.

humanbeing2

5/7/2009 7:14:46 AM

“King Soopers joined with Safeway stores this week in seeking applications from thousands of people to fill temporary jobs in the event of a strike.”

__________________________

So why not make these permanent jobs?

Hire temp worker while the other worker half quit and play games with the livelihood of the company?

Yeah makes a lot of sense. Wal-mart will be laughing themselves to sleep.

sidd

5/7/2009 7:15:34 AM

I, for one, would like to say that the employees of the King Soopers in Gunbarrel are the store’s best asset. They are friendly, helpful, but treated like dirt by Corporate.

donwrege

5/7/2009 8:09:27 AM

Unions work great, just look at the auto industry.

If the workers don’t like what they’re making then maybe they should find a new job that pays more and negotiate a new contact for themselves.

Where I work the squeaky wheel gets replaced, not greased.

lasergod

5/7/2009 8:29:09 AM

You now what?I have a job.I have lost benefits, retirement etc.However in todays economy I feel so blessed.I think people pushing for unions are making it worse.They are not going to help.The executives these days are to greedy.They will do anything so that they have everything and forgot everyone else.Just suck it up do your job and be happy you have food on the table.I am happy to live in America.Look at other places like Dufar.We are so lucky people.

siggy1123@hotmail.com

5/7/2009 9:03:25 AM

Unions destroy American Industry.Look at Detroit.Grocery clerks demanding Pensions?Give me a break.You may get a company match on a 401K— but stand up and take control of YOUR OWN RETIREMENT.Pensions are yesterday’s “entitlements”.Pay your own way, or go get an education that will further your own career prospects if you aren’t satisfied with your hourly pay.There’s no such thing as a free lunch any more, as the incompetant, greedy, spoiled Auto Unions in Detroit are finally finding out.

It’s high time Americans take responsibility for their own situations, and stop expecting handouts from others.

burmck88

5/7/2009 9:05:12 AM

If unions are so bad, how come Whole Paycheck is non union but charges quite a bit more for its marginally ‘organic’ food? Or non union Wallmart, that once it wipes out competition in a town charges every bit as much as the union chains did?

nuggethillrd@skyxpress.net

5/7/2009 9:13:00 AM

nuggethillrd,

Whole Paycheck and Wallmart are both very good at wiping out their competition. That’s how they get away with charging more. If the union workers want a raise all they have to do is quit paying their union dues. The only losers will be the union bosses. King Supers will still have to compete with Safeway, and Albertson’s.

pm

5/7/2009 9:25:03 AM

If you work in a safe work environment for a decent wage, thank a union.Most white collar employees get the same benefits that the blue collar folks at those companies fight for.But if you talk to a telcom professional, or even a manufacturing company desk jockey, they will deride the very union they should thank. If the latte sippers had to collectively bargain for their health care, it might be amusing or pathetic.

When Reagan went after the air traffic controllers, we all lost.

All that said, if you want to really see the most powerful union in this country, look at the American Medical Association.They even control the number of people allowed to train for particular positions.

Yes, there are criminals in the unions that need to be weeded out.However, you could say that about company boards as well.

CityZen

5/7/2009 9:32:15 AM

I just love to see all of the ditto-heads start spouting their no-think regurgitation of the mindless drivel that has been poured into their empty heads…praise be to Saint Rush for all he has done to foster intelligent debate across all of the issues we face.

In the name of the father (Ronnie R.), the son (W.), and the heavy ghost (Rush.)

AMEN

awinkisasgoodasanod@yahoo.com

5/7/2009 9:40:34 AM

Let’s see, I am trying to figure out what level of skills is required to be a bagger at a grocery store…

I guess that just standing there would require fewer skills, so maybe minimum wage is too low.

JG

5/7/2009 9:52:42 AM

When they go on strike, wouldn’t it be nice if they picket with honest signs, for instance:

“We demand artificially inflated wages for unskilled work!”

IXLR82

5/7/2009 10:00:03 AM

why in God’s name do they make grocery clerks stand up for eight hours? How would it hurt to give them a stool to sit on?

chicago

5/7/2009 10:02:42 AM

Wink and Nod: And you get your talking points from Air America?You’re just as bad as the dittoheads. Same story different page.

Unions brought down Detroit and Card Check is unAmerican in its infringment on workers rights. Unions feel empowered with Obama in office and both houses of congress under democratic control, but they’re overreaching.

The deli workers I’ve seen at both King Soopers and Safeway stores in Boulder need a union because they’d all be fired for incompetence and poor customer service without that union job protection. Good thing grocery store workers can’t have their jobs exported to China (again, union demands cost American jobs.)

SoBoPop

5/7/2009 10:06:53 AM

“why in God’s name do they make grocery clerks stand up for eight hours? How would it hurt to give them a stool to sit on?”

Like security guards in clothing stores.

dont@bugmenot.com

5/7/2009 10:08:11 AM

Unions gave factory workers in Detroit and other industrial areas a safer working environment, a 40 hour work week, and health benefits.Miners and loggers also formed unions, for many of the same reasons but also because they didn’t want to live in the company housing or to only spend their money at the company store. Triangle Shirtwaist anyone?Ludlow, CO?You’re all well-read, right?Anyway,what the unions wonrippled through society and gave a lot of us the standard of living that we now enjoy.People died for the 40 hour work-week and laws against child labor.

As for Detroit, management and leadership did not change with the times.When people wanted lower cost/higher quality vehicles and could finally get them from Asia, the decision makers at the Big Three did not respond.

To blame the people building product for the poor decision making at the top is ridiculous.Next, you’ll be blaming people who can’t pay their bills for the world financial crisis.Those high-paid bankers with MBAs were duped!

WRT grocery stores, some jobs are more obviously dangerous than others.While meat work and truck driving seem to be those where unions have traditionally made jobs safer for employees and for the general public.My guess is that the rest of the staff is along for the ride.And that the store managers enjoy the same level of benefits as their union employees.

CityZen

5/7/2009 10:23:51 AM

I remember the ’96 strike.There were no WalMart supercenters around here then.Whole Foods was not an issue.Union gave up a lot back then, after a 40 day strike.They’ll give up more this time.

Consumers talk with their dollars.The fact WalMart has had such an impact simply proves that most consumers couldn’t care less if WalMart employees were union or not. (P.S., I won’t shop at WalMart, but not because of this.)

Whole Foods caters to high end customers who most likely don’t even know any union members.(P.S., I don’t shop at WF because they charge way too much for the privilege of shopping there.)

I will, however, just like in ’96, cross the picket line.The good, hard-working, customer-oriented employees will also cross to go to work.The picketers will be back at work after the strike with their same ‘ol grouchy attitudes.

Given this competitive environment and the current unemployment level, this is sure a big gamble by union management.But, then, what else does union mgmt have to do?The bigwigs at the union pull down 6 figure incomes while bilking members of dues.

Maybe Ritter will step in to help the unions, like O has done for the UAW.

backrange

5/7/2009 10:25:05 AM

If they don’t like standing up at their jobs, why are they doing the job?Go get another job so they can sit on their a***.Go apply to be a bus driver.

Come on, people.That is just so pathetic.Noone is making them do that job.

burmck88

5/7/2009 10:26:18 AM

SoBoPop:

I think your chosen name says much.

In blaming unions for bringing down Detroit, you accord them more influence than the really have.

Greed brought down Detroit, and unions do share in that indictment, but they are not alone.Corporate greed and individual consumer greed combined with greed on the part of the unions all worked together to bring down not just Detroit but the whole “house of cards” shell game that we have all been engaged in.

And, just out of curiosity, what is “Air America”?

awinkisasgoodasanod@yahoo.com

5/7/2009 10:27:18 AM

Dear Roark4 and other union haters – just how much do you make per hour?I’m betting it is considerably more than the supermarket workers.And, I’ll also wager that your benefits are better as well.It’s really easy to decry unions when you have a job that pays a living wage without the need to unionize.

As for why people work at non-union shops – the answer is pretty obvious.If the alternative to working in a non-union shop is not working at all – gee, I wonder what you would do?

Everyone needs a living wage – and if a company is making sufficient profits, they should pay that wage.It would be a perfect world if companies would voluntarily do the right thing – they generally are run by greedy @ssholes and therefore must be coerced into doing what they should do voluntarily.

I will not cross a picket line to buy groceries – and everyone who has a high paying job should stop and remember just how lucky they are that they don’t have to fight for scraps.

connie@cozmic.com

5/7/2009 10:33:27 AM

I have a Bachelor’s of Science 4-year degree that I earned at a state college, and would not expect, or even accept, a Corporate Pension from my company.Pensions kill companies and eradicate jobs.I like my job.If I didn’t, I would work towards finding an alternative position.

It’s called Capitalism, and it’s what makes the America so great.Do with it what you will, and thrive.Demanding entitlements, and hand outs, and lose your job.

I say fire them all, and hire someone else willing to work.

burmck88

5/7/2009 10:35:37 AM

“Air America” is a liberal bias radio station.The antithesis of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

BoulderConfidential

5/7/2009 10:36:02 AM

Posted by BoulderConfidential on May 7, 2009 at 10:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

“Air America” is a liberal bias radio station. The antithesis of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

Never heard of it before.What station(s) is it on?

awinkisasgoodasanod@yahoo.com

5/7/2009 10:39:34 AM

Smart move unions: now everyone will go to Super Walmart and see 20-40% discounts and you have LOST THEM FOREVER, to an evil mega corp.Nice f-ing move.

musicgrinder

5/7/2009 10:51:47 AM

Wages are driven by skills necessary to do the job.If it requires special skills, you get paid more.Simple concept.

I don’t see any special skills being used when I go to the grocery store.In fact, with no training, I find it easy to go through self-checkout.I’ll bet I could stock shelves with little training as well.Let’s see, all the cans have to look alike and be faced forward.Got it.

The grocery store of the future will have no checkout lanes, except for those poor souls who can’t get a checking account.You simply fill your cart and walk out.Your checking account will get hit for the amount in your cart and you’ll get a detailed list emailed to you.

Shelves will be stocked at night by the same elves who do it now.

backrange

5/7/2009 10:54:06 AM

I will not cross the picket line. Better stock up on food now. Of course, better yet, listen to the Mormons and have a year’s supply of food (or at least three months worth). Comes in handy for emergencies.

DianeMad

5/7/2009 11:00:02 AM

I like the flash commercials in the paper today “Grocery Workers are here for YOU”

Really so this strike is for ME.. oh I’m flattered, I don’t know what to say.

sidd

5/7/2009 11:04:52 AM

burmck88:Will you also be declining your SSI?Unemployment?Health care benefits?Or just pension?Because seriously, the pension is a thing of the past anyway.With your fancy undergraduate degree, you probably already know that.

Ask a steel worker or a pilot about the PBGC worked for them.GM will probably take the rest of that fund, so unless we’re just going to print more money, most of us aren’t getting pensions anyway.Probably no SSI either.Start saving.

CityZen

5/7/2009 11:05:10 AM

The union spokesperson claims “Most checkers top out at $7.60 an hour.” Seriously?That’s only 32 cents more than the minimum wage of $7.28 per hour.I find it pretty hard to believe checkers aren’t making more than that.

cinnabar

5/7/2009 11:07:56 AM

hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs every month, what do Unions do? go on strike… and people in the BUBBLE stand in solidarity with them…… yep, that makes perfect sense.

Strt56

5/7/2009 11:23:41 AM

TO: connie

“Dear Roark4 and other union haters – just how much do you make per hour? I’m betting it is considerably more than the supermarket workers. And, I’ll also wager that your benefits are better as well. It’s really easy to decry unions when you have a job that pays a living wage without the need to unionize.”

“Everyone needs a living wage – and if a company is making sufficient profits, they should pay that wage. It would be a perfect world if companies would voluntarily do the right thing – they generally are run by greedy @ssholes and therefore must be coerced into doing what they should do voluntarily.”

It is with that kind of attitude that has greatly contributed to America’s lack of an economically sustainable Auto Industry.One with that attitude would do well to move to a Communist Country, where one could experience getting paid the same as everyone else regardless of effort, and where the incentive to work towards a goal, or personal improvement, or even a better education, is absent.

burmck88

5/7/2009 11:27:49 AM

CityZen:

I agree with you in that the Pension is a thing of the past.That is my entire point.Tell that to Grocery workers that are demanding a Pension, as stated in the above article.And, yes, I have a Health Savings Account, where I pay for my own health insurance.I get Social Security when I retire because I am a major contributor to that fund now, in that a portion of my earnings get taken out of every paycheck to go towards paying someone else’s beneifts now.As well, Social Security is not optional, like a Pension.If you’ve worked, and have contributed to Social Security, you get paid back when you retire.That’s the idea, and I support that program.Pensions are entitlements that are economically unsustainable, are company-killers, and are very un-American in that they encourage the “I deserve more” entitlement attitude.

burmck88

5/7/2009 11:50:23 AM

I am also somewhat shocked at where cashiers ‘top out’ at King Soopers. OUCH! I would be grumpy and ignore my customers also..

Part of what you pay for at Whole Foods is for them to pay the workers a living wage and provide benefits. They start at $9.50 an hour, and there are plenty of opportunities to move up. Pangea Organics also pays a living wage – which for Boulder they’ve calculated to be $11.50 an hour, minimum. Sounds pretty nice..

It always seems to me that the King Soopers employees stay in the same position for years, if not decades.

Okay, begin the Whole Foods haters in earnest, but before you waste your time ranting at me, know that I don’t really care about your rants, unless you have something meaningful to contribute.

moresmilesplease

5/7/2009 12:44:59 PM

burmck88:So you are bravely proclaiming that you forgo something that you don’t believe you’ll have?Okay, my next car will not be a Ferrari.And I won’t buy that house on Mapleton Hill either. You’ve convinced me.

On the same point, are you giving up your paid vacation as well?Pensions are just like other perqs–they are part of the package that an employee is offered for their work.I’d take less health care for more salary, but I’m young and healthy, for the time being.And truly, you won’t get SSI if you’re young now.It just won’t be there.And while paying into SSI is not optional (except for a few exceptions), receiving this entitlement is completely voluntary.

Indeed if you’re a major contributor to SSI, you’re well enough off that you probably don’t need to meddle in someone else’s collective bargaining.

It takes no courage to cross a picket line anymore.That’s a pity.

CityZen

5/7/2009 12:49:19 PM

A tremendous amount of skill, patience, and dignity is required to be a bagger, just to put up with insolent arrogant condescending cretins such as JG and the others who judge them.

angrynative

5/7/2009 12:59:33 PM

“It is with that kind of attitude that has greatly contributed to America’s lack of an economically sustainable Auto Industry. One with that attitude would do well to move to a Communist Country, where one could experience getting paid the same as everyone else regardless of effort, and where the incentive to work towards a goal, or personal improvement, or even a better education, is absent.”

Good call. While I have certainly been fortunate in life, I’ve never been accused of not working my butt off through school and in my career to put myself where I’m at today. The human side of me will always have some degree of sympathy for those less fortunate than myself, but on that same token unskilled laborers have nobody but themselves to blame for low pay and/or career dissatisfaction.

The great thing about this country is that we all have the freedom to make the choices that will better or worsen our lives. Please don’t belittle me and say I don’t understand what it means to work hard or to struggle. I paid my own way through college by working in all sorts of awful jobs along the way…construction, hard labor, retail, restaurants, you name it.

If you don’t like your situation, do something to better it.

Roark4

5/7/2009 2:12:39 PM

moresmiles – “shocked”Really?Surpised, perhaps, but I doubt shocked.

Also, if you were making barely above minimum wage, you would get a different job, wouldn’t you?You sure wouldn’t stay there for years, if not decades.

In fact, here’s a hint to the Kings, Safeway, and Albertson’s employees who are looking to the union to help them – go get a job at Whole Foods or Pangea.You’d be lots of money ahead, and no union dues!

Nobody’s forcing these folks to work there.These 3 chains would have to pay more if they didn’t have people lining up to take those jobs.

And, here IS a shocker – some of those employees tell me they buy their groceries at WalMart because of the prices.So, what has the union done for these people?

backrange

5/7/2009 2:24:56 PM

“…and everyone who has a high paying job should stop and remember just how lucky they are that they don’t have to fight for scraps.”

One other thing: please don’t use the word “lucky” to explain my condition or the condition of others. Nobody’s success in life (or lack thereof) is determined with a coin flip. Fortunate? Yes, but only as the result of my own doing.

Winning the lottery is lucky, but working hard to achieve financial success has nothing to do with luck.

Roark4

5/7/2009 2:26:06 PM

Sprawl Mart: No Benefits = More workers on Government subsidies = Higher cost to the communities that support them.

Every time you shop there, you are supporting poverty.

Stephen@Haydel.com

5/7/2009 2:42:44 PM

Roark4 – exactly.

Stephen – exactly, WalMart – welfare recipients selling crap made by impoverished Chinese to current or future welfare recipients.Nice business model.

backrange

5/7/2009 2:57:18 PM

Roark4:There are a large number of people who are lucky and never work very hard for what they have.There are even more people who work very hard but remain unlucky.There are also lucky people who work hard, and people who work hard and get a break.

I’m grateful every day that I worked hard and got a few coin flips in my favor.I don’t believe for an instant that where I am now is solely due to my own efforts.Furthermore, I don’t believe that you or anyone else got to where ever you may be due to only skills.There is a little chance in everything.Don’t forget to look both ways before you cross the street.

CityZen

5/7/2009 4:02:23 PM

Roark4 and backrange.

Yes, everyone must take on a level or personal responsibility for where they are in life. However, there are so many circumstances that have a huge impact on what direction our lives take. (Divorce, death, illness, injury, layoffs, children, to name a few.) If you are born white and male (which I am assuming you both are) you are already entering the world with advantage. You don’t see this because you don’t need to. You only have to view life through your own eyes and what you don’t see, simply doesn’t exist.

Yes, we do live in a country that allows for the “American Dream.” No one is forcing people to work in any particular job. But these jobs must be done, by someone, always. I don’t think anyone grows up with the dream of checking your groceries, but sometimes things happen and we don’t have our dream jobs. We all need to work, and just because some don’t require a degree doesn’t mean that it’s of no value and shouldn’t receive decent pay. Please don’t be so judgmental towards people you don’t even know.

sej4108

5/7/2009 4:03:01 PM

sej4108 – back atcha.

I’ve personally been threw divorce, injury, layoffs, children, to name a few.

You’re right, I was born white and male.And, I was also told point blank by the hiring manager that I didn’t get a job because they had to fill their EEO quota and hire a minority. (I knew this guy personally so he could tell me, off the record.)

Every job has value.I’ve done many of those lower paying jobs in my life.I understand their value, and I certainly understand that in many cases the hardest manual labor jobs I ever did paid the least.

But, it was all of those experiences combined that pushed me to get a degree, get a better job, eventually own businesses, and build a good life.

Wish more people would do the same instead of expecting either the government or the union to save them.

BTW, I DO know several of these people personally.

So, please don’t be so judgemental towards people you don’t even know.

backrange

5/7/2009 4:23:28 PM

oops, sorry about the “threw” in the second paragraph.Shoulda been “through” but I almost threw up thinking about what that divorce cost me.Talk about starting over from nothing.

backrange

5/7/2009 4:25:47 PM

A lackluster economy and end of classes for working-age kids will not help the union, should they decide to strike.

mildlyamused

5/7/2009 4:38:20 PM

Roark – RE: me judging you – do you mean what I stated about being a white male?

sej4108

5/7/2009 5:02:08 PM

Yeah, wanting a livable wage is just out of the question! Sheesh!!

humanbeing2

5/7/2009 7:09:48 PM

I these baggers are worth more then they are paid they should go get another job that pays more.

Skills______________ ahhhâ ¦. I want more moneyâ ¦?

sidd

5/7/2009 7:54:41 PM

The single biggest predictor of a person’s lifetime earnings is his or her education. The single biggest predictor of a person’s educational attainment is his or her parents’ income level. But luck has nothing to do with it? Keep telling yourself that.

chicago

5/7/2009 10:35:44 PM

If they want more money they should find a better job, like everybody else.

Really have to wonder how smart these people are when they’re already starting to put automated self-checkout lanes in most stores.They should just be happy they’re not being completely replaced.

Ringo48

5/9/2009 4:25:46 PM

Yeah, strike!Talk to someone who survived the big California strike a few years ago.Out of work for months, with NO gain.Maybe nobody wins, but the unions lost big, and haven’t regained any since.

bitemeboulder@yahoo.com

5/10/2009 8:04:42 AM

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