The possible impact on grocery-worker negotiations of Albertsons store closings

As we noted last week, there appears to have been zero measurable progress made in resolving the long-running contract dispute between unionized grocery workers and the big three local chains: King Soopers, Safeway and Albertsons. But the latter triumvirate may have just gained a public-relations advantage with the announcement that Albertsons plans to shutter five metro-area stores within the next couple of months, plus a distribution center in Aurora. The corporations can now imply that workers must choose between two unattractive alternatives -- taking a lesser deal than they'd like or watching plenty of their jobs disappear. Yes, Albertsons says it hopes to find positions for employees currently at stores marked for closure -- but you get the idea.

Unsurprisingly,, a site associated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local No. 7, which has been used as an online spot to rally support for grocery-store staffers, makes no mention of Albertsons' move in its news section. The most recently posted item is an August 20 update about negotiations in Western Colorado. No sense in giving aid and comfort to the enemy -- particularly a foe that may have just gained an upper hand in future talks.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts