The King Soopers in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, on Nov. 24, 2020. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)
The union representing 17,000 workers at King Soopers and Kroger grocery stores in Colorado and Wyoming on Thursday formally announced its intent to strike as talks with the company over a new labor agreement remain stalled.
The announcement by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 followed a near-unanimous Jan. 2 vote by the union’s membership to authorize a strike after months of negotiations failed to produce an agreement.
“After repeated attempts to bring about an end to King Soopers’ unfair labor practices, which have sought to prevent grocery workers from securing an industry-leading contract, King Soopers has left us with no choice but to call for an unfair labor practice strike,” Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7, said in a Thursday press release.
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“Over the past few months, we have repeatedly pleaded for the company to listen to the voices of the workers. And yet, King Soopers has refused to recognize our suffering,” Cordova’s statement continued. “The company continues to bring in record profits, while its workforce endures low wages amid a skyrocketing cost of living.”
Representatives for King Soopers said Thursday that the company had offered wage increases, expanded health benefits and signing bonuses as part of its latest offer to UFCW Local 7, but a notice sent by the union to its members on Thursday called the offer a “concessionary contract” that would entrench the company’s two-tier wage and benefits system and harm future employees.
The current agreement between UFCW Local 7 and King Soopers, reached after similarly tense negotiations in March 2019, expires at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 8. The union said Thursday that an official strike date would be set “in the coming days.”
“Our union brothers and sisters from across America are preparing to travel to Colorado to assist us on the picket line,” UFCW Local 7 said in its notice to members.
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