UFCW 7 President Ernie Duran Voted Out

Vote Follows 7News Investigation Into Spending, Nepotism

The president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 has lost his re-election bid, amid allegations of nepotism and misspent funds.

Ernie Duran Jr. will be replaced by Kim Cordova on Jan. 1.

She is the first woman UFCW president in Colorado and called the union vote "loud and clear."

Last week, 7News Investigator John Ferrugia reported Duran hired family members to high-paying union positions including his daughter and son, who are making at least $119,000 a year in their jobs, plus benefits.

Ferrugia also found union members' dues covering expensive trips and meals, including king crab legs and Denver Broncos tickets.

CALL7 Investigators also learned that the union paid for president Duran to go on various trips, including two weeks in Spain to study Spanish.

Duran has been president of the local food workers local since 1998.

Duran's daughter, who is the union's staff attorney, said she'll file a challenge to the election with the U.S. Department of Labor.

She said about 13 percent of the rank-and-file members actually voted.

The U.S. Department of Labor is investigating the union's spending, but Ernie Duran Jr. said he believed the investigation is finished and he will be absolved.

Duran told Ferrugia he didn't know how much he makes as union president, but federal records show he was paid about $140,000 from the local and an additional $20,000 from the national union.

In the meantime, Duran is leading negotiations on contracts for about 17,000 workers at Safeway, King Soopers, City Market and Albertsons who are represented by the union. King Soopers, City Market and Safeway workers are voting on the contracts through early October.

Cordova said her supporters were upset with concessions in past contracts negotiated by Duran and the fact that he, his son and his daughter all earn top salaries from the union.

Cordova said she and secretaries for Duran and his son were fired this spring after they questioned the family's union spending. Cordova then returned to Safeway, where she worked before becoming a union employee, to become a baker and run against Duran for president.

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