GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KFQX) — Tuesday (1/11) update: With time running out before the planned 5AM strike Wednesday (1/12) in Denver, King Soopers/City Market’s final offer to the union, is on the table.
The United food and Commercial Workers Local 7 Union alleges unfair labor practices and wants its workers statewide to make at least the Denver minimum wage rate, of $15 and .87 cents, in order to keep up with Colorado’s cost of living. In a letter Tuesday (1/11) — King Soopers offered a starting wage of $16 per hour, with bonuses for current employees based on employment length. For checkers — King Soopers is offering an immediate wage increase of $1 and .50 cents per hour, on top of the $19 and .51cents, they already earn.
Heading to the grocery store, may look a little different in the next few weeks. The union representing thousands of City Market and King Soopers employees is set to strike against alleged unfair labor practices from parent company, Kroger. “We are about a day and a half from engaging in the largest labor dispute regarding grocery workers since 1996,” Kim Cordova, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 says.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 has grocery employees at 88 stores in Colorado, ready to strike by 5AM, Wednesday (1/12). “I think it’s 100% reckless and destructive,” Joe Kelley, King Soopers Colorado Division President says.
Joe Kelley, says the company is ready to return to negotiations with a federal mediator. “We are not interested in having a federal mediator,” Cordova says, “Workers are mad, they are fed up throughout this entire negotiation process and frankly throughout the pandemic.”
For now, workers for King Soopers in Denver, Parker, Boulder and Broomfield are set to strike, but more union stores may soon follow. “If we have to close some of our stores because we can’t staff them, because she is calling a strike which is unfounded then there won’t be enough groceries,” Kelley said.
Kroger responded to the planned strike by using corporate lawyers to negotiate with the union. while the union invited Kelley, King Sooper’s President to the negotiations table. “I invited him personally to negotiations and he showed up for one day for a whole nine minutes,” Cordova says, “So when the company is coming before our members or the media or the community and say that they care about their workers, our workers were only worth 9 minutes to the Colorado division President”
The union’s President claims King Soopers refuses to produce information critical to bargaining negotiations and failed so far, to bargain in good faith.
At this time, the union says there are no plans to strike in Grand Junction or anywhere in the Western Slope, as the current contract in the area does not expire until the end of January, 2022.