DENVER -- A strike by United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7 against 55 King Soopers stores here and in Colorado Springs -- plus a subsequent union lockout by 57 Safeway stores in the same area -- entered its second week last week, with no further bargaining sessions scheduled. All stores are continuing to operate with management and temporary personnel, and about 1,000 Local 7 members have crossed the picket lines to return to work, Pete Webb, a management spokesman, told SN last week. Albertson's, which operates 40 stores in the area, is continuing to negotiate with the union to renew its contract, which is being extended indefinitely on a week-to-week basis. The three chains' contracts expired May 12. Local 7 represents about 10,200 retail clerks and meatcutters at King Soopers, 5,500 workers at Safeway and 2,500 at Albertson's. It called the strike May 14 against King Soopers, a division of Kroger Co., Cincinnati, because King Soopers and Safeway are negotiating as a single bargaining unit. The strike prompted Safeway to lock out its union employees a day later. The last strike here, against King Soopers in 1987, lasted five weeks. According to Webb, the dispute's main issue is competitive parity: King Soopers and Safeway want to have the same work rules on employee scheduling and vendor stocking as Albertson's and Cub Food Stores have. He said the employers' final offer to the union included a guarantee to pay 100% first-dollar health-care coverage, to increase the union pension fund contributions 4% and to raise wages 90 cents an hour over the next three years. Tony Gehring, a Local 7 spokesman, said King Soopers and Safeway control a 72% market share vs. 13% for Albertson's and Cub, "and yet they still claim the need for competitive parity."