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Labor dispute continues as King Soopers, union remain at bargaining table



Labor dispute continues as King Soopers, union remain at bargaining table

As Denver-area King Soopers workers walked the picket lines for a sixth day, negotiators for the union and Colorado’s largest grocery chain met Monday in contract talks that have been marked by each side accusing the other of unfair labor practices and refusing to bargain in good faith.

Heading into the fourth straight day of talks, union representatives said there had been little progress even though they “moved more than 12 offers back and forth” with the company. Company representatives said the Union of Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 hadn’t offered any new proposals on wages, health care or pensions Friday.

The meeting Friday lasted 68 minutes. It was the first bargaining session since Jan. 6 when the union rejected a proposal it described as “riddled with concessions” that King Soopers wants from workers.

“We spent the first day in negotiations listening to corporate executives scream, yell at the members and show utter disdain and disrespect for the workers,” Kim Cordova, union president, said in a video on the UFCW Local 7 Facebook page.

King Soopers spokeswoman Jessica Trowbridge said in an email Monday that the union “continues to choose rhetoric and confusion to distract from their failure to represent their members and allow the company to put more money in their paychecks.”

The company wants the union to let its members vote on the offer turned down by the union’s bargaining committee.

The strike involving more than 8,000 employees at 68 stores in Boulder, Parker and the metro area started Wednesday, a day after the union rejected King Soopers’ “last, best offer.” The proposal included $170 million in wage increases, health care benefits and bonuses ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 upon ratification of the contract.

King Soopers’ contracts with the stores on strike expired Jan. 8. Other contracts with King Soopers and City Market, both owned by Cincinnati-based Kroger, expire later in January and in February.

The UFCW Local 7, which represents 17,000 grocery workers in Colorado and Wyoming, agreed to extend contract talks with Albertsons, which owns Safeway and Albertsons grocery stores.

King Soopers has proposed increasing its starting pay to $16 an hour. The union called the proposal inadequate, saying it’s only 13 cents above Denver’s minimum wage. The union’s offer includes starting pay of $18.56 and the restoration of “hazard” pay that the company gave when the coronavirus pandemic began and ended a couple of months later, in May 2020.

Wages are important to Jay Burnham, a King Soopers employee for nearly 30 years.

“But the main issue right now, the reason we voted to strike, is because of unfair labor practices,” said Burnham, who works at a Glendale store. “They’re bringing people to stock shelves who are not part of the union.”

The UFCW Local 7 filed a lawsuit in federal court in late December that said King Soopers is using third-party staffing services to do union-covered work.

King Soopers filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board on Jan. 10 that accuses the union of bargaining in bad faith.

“This is a real test of, not just wills, but market power,” Jeffrey Zax, an economics professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder, said of the strike. “In the pandemic environment, the question of whether either party has an accurate assessment of their relative market power is an interesting one because market power has shifted.”

Worker shortages have given labor more leverage in the market, Zax said. Millions of people haven’t returned to their pre-pandemic jobs or quit because of concerns about COVID-19, lack of child care or the desire to find different work.


Making his fifth appearance in six years, Stillwater’s Alex Beach is a permanent fixture at PGA Championship



Making his fifth appearance in six years, Stillwater’s Alex Beach is a permanent fixture at PGA Championship

Not all of Alex Beach’s family will be in attendance at Southern Hills this week in Tulsa, Okla., to watch the Stillwater native compete at this week’s PGA Championship. Turns out, this was their pre-determined cabin-opening weekend.

That confirms two things: No. 1, Beach is indeed Minnesotan. And, No. 2, that this is far from his first trip around the major championship block.

In fact, when he tees off in the first round at 2:31 p.m. Thursday, Beach will be making his fifth PGA Championship appearance over the past six years. He has gained entry into this particular golf major championship the same way each time, by finishing in the top 20 of the PGA Professional Championship. Doing so this year was not without drama.

In the final round of last month’s club pro championship, Beach thought he needed to finish at 1 under par for the 72-hole event to safely gain entry into another PGA Championship. But he got into the clubhouse at even par. That led to a nervy two-plus hours playing the waiting game. By the time everyone else was in, Beach and three others were tied for 18th — meaning a sudden-death playoff would be held to see which three of the four golfers would punch their tickets to the PGA Championship.

And, on the first playoff hole, Beach faced a birdie chip from off the green.

He drained it, clinching another major championship tee time in the process. The clip — which Beach says he has now seen more than 100 times — shows the 32-year-old carefully watching the ball’s roll, then somewhat casually dropping a finger down as the birdie dropped into the cup.

“I didn’t really celebrate much. I was so in the zone on the task at hand,” Beach said. “When it went in, honestly, it was just like blackout mode. My short game is pretty good, but I had some kind of streaky stretches during that tournament, and just kind of, poetically, to finish with some theatrics, I guess it’s fitting.”

It wasn’t until he was walking off the green with his caddie that Beach smiled and the reality of the achievement seemed to sink in. The first word Beach used to describe that playoff: “stressful.”

“Super happy and thrilled, lucky to get through it. I didn’t have my best stuff (at the tournament) in Texas, really had to grind it out and was lucky to finish high enough to get into the playoff, and then was very fortunate to chip in and kind of solidify my spot,” he said. “Yeah, that was wild.”

Frankly, so too is making a fifth PGA Championship appearance in six years. The assistant professional at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., is nearly as permanent a fixture at the premier event as the game’s top names.

“So in some ways it’s like, ‘Mark it on your calendar,’ but at the same time it’s the opposite of that,” said Beach, a 2007 Stillwater Area High School grad. “It’s so hard to get here for me and the 20 guys. But showing up to this week now, I’m so comfortable. I know a lot of the players. I’ve been fortunate to play with a lot of them many times now and I know how the week works, and I’ve always said the hardest thing out here for someone like myself is to get comfortable and feel like I belong. In some small way now I kind of feel like I’ve earned that, mainly to myself, not from anybody else.”

Beach’s goals entering this week are the same as always — to play well. He knows he’s good enough to compete at this level. He would love to make the 36-hole cut, something he hasn’t done in his four previous tries.

“Hopefully, in a couple days,” he said, “we can change that.”

That’s not to say he hasn’t been close. He was just a couple of shots off the number in 2020, and was inside the cut line in the second round last year before suffering a back injury that derailed his round.

The scores, he noted, don’t always reflect how close he has been. Beach believes Southern Hills, which puts a premium on distance and work around the greens, fits his game “really well.” He is accustomed to Midwest golf and championship golf. This setup checks both of those boxes. He said a number of holes appease the eye of the lefty’s cut off the tee. Perhaps all of those factors working in his favor will lead to a special week.

Beach puts pressure on himself to succeed, but added there’s so much more to this week than his tournament performance.

“The level of support that I have is truly humbling, and it’s so fun to share this experience with others, and that, for me, is what makes it special,” he said. “The true fun stuff happens on the course. (Tuesday,) signing autographs for some young kids and getting to have some laughs with them. That’s where this is truly special. For someone like myself, this isn’t my week-in, week-out job at this point — as much as I’d love it to be one day. So yeah, I’m going to try my hardest, but it’s been an incredible week.”

Of the 20 club pros, Beach’s fifth PGA Championship appearance ties him with Ryan Vermeer for most among the group. He has gotten to know so many people through his experiences, including countless PGA Tour players. They’re among those fascinated by the stories of the PGA club pros.

“They’re kind of rooting for us, too. It’s pretty much everybody. We’re the true underdog story,” Beach said. “We get to share what it’s like to play in an all-star game, which is pretty much what a PGA Championship is. And to hold our own, that just validates what we love to do and why we work hard.”

Beach’s advice to this week’s PGA professional newbies is simple: Savor the experience.

“Play well, play poorly, you earned the right to be here, you earned the right to smile, and you earned the right to enjoy what this week is, because you’re going to look back on it with incredible memories,” he said. “And hopefully it’s one of many/ But you’re never guaranteed much, so enjoy the walk.”

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Celtics’ Smart upgraded to probable, with Heat’s Lowry still out, as pandemic, protocols remain series factors



Celtics’ Smart upgraded to probable, with Heat’s Lowry still out, as pandemic, protocols remain series factors

The specter COVID and illness continues to be a factor in the Eastern Conference finals series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.

A day after the Celtics big man Al Horford entered the NBA’s heath-and-safety protocols, Boston coach Ime Udoka was unavailable for his team’s Wednesday media session due to what the Celtics said was a non-COVID illness.

However, ongoing concerns about the pandemic continue to impact the NBA playoffs for a third consecutive year, with the Heat returning to a mask mandate for all media at Wednesday’s interview session.

In addition, it is believed that ESPN now will conduct pregame coaching interviews remotely.

Horford, as of Wednesday, was not expected to be available for Thursday’s 8:30 Game 2 and FTX Arena, formally listed as doubtful by the Celtics.

It is not the scenario Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had hoped for by this stage of the pandemic.

“It’s disappointing,” he said. “It’s like every single time you think it’s getting beyond this, it’s not.”

That had him empathizing with the Celtics.

“You want to beat their best with our best,” he said. “It’s just not the world we’re living in.”

Heat guard Tyler Herro said Wednesday the return of COVID and illness is just a sign of the times.

“I mean, you just control what you can control,” he said. “There’s a lot of sickness going around, but you just try to stay out the way and hope everything goes well, I guess.”

While the Celtics offered no updates on Horford, guard Marcus Smart, the 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, was upgraded to probable Thursday for a return from the mid-foot sprain that had him out for Tuesday’s series opening Heat victory.

“Obviously, he’s Defensive Player of the Year,” Herro said, “so him being on the floor obviously brings a presence on that side of the ball. He’s a tremendous player, so him being out there, obviously it shifts things a little bit.”

Herro said a return by Horford would be similarly series shifting, whenever that might come.

“I mean, both of those being back, that’s two of their five starters,” he said. “Being at full strength, I’m sure they’ll be a little bit more confident. And we’ll see when those guys get back.”

Also, Celtics guard Sam Hauser remains out due to right-shoulder instability.

For the Heat, point guard Kyle Lowry remains sidelined with a hamstring strain, listed as out, to miss his eighth game in the last 10.

Spoelstra said Lowry was limited to light shooting Wednesday, with the Heat limited in their court time.

“I don’t have a new update,” he said.

Premature Pepas

Yes, Herro said, he was surprised that the Heat rally anthem of ‘Pepas’ was played with significant time remaining Tuesday, perhaps a bit prematurely.

“It did,” he said. “I was thinking that. I think it was like four minutes on the clock.”

The Heat led by 13 with 3:18 to play, with their lead later trimmed to seven with 1:28 remaining.

Spoelstra said he was unaware of premature Pepas, but acknowledged being unaware through a significant portion of the Pepas phenomenon at FTX Arena.

“You know what? I did not notice it [Tuesday] night,” Spoelstra said. “And it took like probably five games during the regular season to realize when our players were getting all hyped up in the huddle, and I’m looking around like, ‘focus.’ And then everybody told me to get my head out of the sand. And I realized what it was.

“I didn’t even know it was played [Tuesday] night. At that point, I thought the game was very much in the balance.”

He then smiled and added, “I will talk to the appropriate people.”


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Ghost Adventures: House Calls Episode 2 – May 19 Release, Time And Plot Speculations



Ghost Adventures: House Calls Episode 2 – May 19 Release, Time And Plot Speculations

There is never enough paranormal activity action. An insatiable desire to explore the unknown, the spirit land, feels like an ongoing investigation of human beings. One of the most loved inquiries of the ghouls and the ghosts are Ghost Adventures series.

The journey of Ghost Adventures began on July 25, 2007, and now after 15 years and after several seasons in between, the series is back with a new subtitle, Ghost Adventures: House Calls. It is debuting with two episodes on a single day, Thursday, May 19, only on Discovery+.

Glimpse Into The Episodes

Just after you finish this article, head straight to watch the teaser trailer of Ghost Adventure: House Calls to experience the spine-chilling horrors of the neighborhood. The first episode is titled “Crisis in Long Beach,” which is concerned with the paranormal predicament of a couple in Long Beach, California. Zak and his team will investigate the possessed husband by the spirit that has found a home along with them.

The second episode, titled “Ellington Home Invasion,” will also stream on the same date, May 19. Once again, Zak will send his crew to Ellington, Connecticut. This time troubled parents, in utmost desperation, will ask for help because of the presence of a beastly shadow that has crept into their home that wants to hurt their four little children.

1652909566 73 Ghost Adventures House Calls Episode 2 – May 19 Release

Hunters Always Hunting

Once again, ghost hunter Zak Bagans, and his team Aaron Goodwin, Billy Tolley, and Jay Wasley, are out there to help those in dire need of it. In an interview, Zak mentioned, “A home is a very personal and sacred space… When unexplained spirit activity causes a family to feel threatened and uncomfortable in their own house, immediate action is caused.

House Calls is about helping people living in fear of something unknown. Our goal is to figure out what’s going on and provide answers, advice, validation.” While it’s true that bingeing on these shows is highly addicting, the people who are suffering from such intrusions by the paranormal world have little to no help other than Zak Bagans and his team.

Beyond The Physical

It is not only the spirit world that is unsheathed in the investigation. The layers of human emotions also unravel during the process. How can humanity fight something that they can’t even touch? Bagans has notably mentioned that working with the team on this season of Ghost Adventures: House Calls is “the most personal and emotional investigation we’ve ever done.”

More Episodes To Come

Stay tuned, folks! Every single week the next six episodes will slowly trickle down on Discovery+. Titled “Auburn in Hell” the Episode 3, the list goes on as “Wappingers Falls of Fear,” “Panic in Palatka,” “Mayhem in Marquette,” “Jacksonville Family Curse,” and “Chaos in Emmaus,” respectively. Let’s hope that we will be treated to another season soon. Fingers Crossed!

The post Ghost Adventures: House Calls Episode 2 – May 19 Release, Time And Plot Speculations appeared first on Gizmo Story.

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