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Safeway wants mail-in voting on new contract
03/08/05 1:30pm

Denver, CO - Safeway proposed a new contract offer Monday to workers asking that they vote by mail-in ballot. The offer echoes one approved Saturday by King Soopers workers.

Safeway workers previously rejected mail-in voting, citing such balloting as one reason the King Soopers and City Market workers voted in favor of the deal, avoiding a strike for 8,200 workers.

The local union had recommended the King Soopers and City Market offer be rejected.

Safeway wants its workers to vote by March 21 and says it will withdraw its offer if the union engages in "anti-company publicity."

Dave Minshall, spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, says union workers will meet tonight and Wednesday to review the offer.

Opponents of mail-in voting have said it prevents union officials from fully explaining the contract to workers. Safeway considers it better because workers "can vote in a thoughtful and confidential manner," spokeswoman Kris Staaf said.

Mail-in contract votes are not uncommon, said Jim Papian, a spokesman for the union's international headquarters in Washington.

He said, "They occur more frequently in large markets where it is not convenient to schedule in-person voting".

Grocery workers in Chicago, San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif., all gave consent to their contracts by mail-in ballot, Papian said.

Staaf declined to say what would happen if the union refuses a mail-in vote.

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