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Once it became clear that the overwhelming majority of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local No. 7 members across the Front Range had rejected King Soopers' latest contract offer, the company had the option to put further negotiations in the freezer section. Instead, King Soopers spokeswoman Diane Mulligan made it clear that the firm will return to the bargaining table rather than locking out employees -- a move that would escalate the situation into outright ugliness quicker than you can say, "Paper or plastic?" That doesn't necessarily mean employees have the upper hand, despite the fact that their pitch -- synopsized in the ad above, which recently got above-average marks in a 9News truth test -- is particularly resonant given the current economic conditions. But clearly King Soopers recognizes that it's already soft sales could liquefy is customers must choose between crossing a picket line or shopping elsewhere. With luck, this fact will drive both sides toward an equitable resolution, rather than away from one.