GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — Grocery workers across the state joined the picket lines to strike back against unfair labor practices.
Employees are fed up with negotiations and sick of customer’s pandemic fueled attacks. “Every single on of our grocery stores, we’ve had workers slapped, spit on, pushed, beat up, our stores are getting robbed,” Aurora striker says, “It’s just the general public coming into these stores frustrated if there’s not supplies in the store, or short staffing, or over the mask mandate.”
Kroger submitted a final offer Tuesday (1/12), 24 hours before the planned strike. “For a company that wishes we don’t go on strike, they made it very easy for it to be the right choice,” Andres Becerril, Aurora King Soopers Supervisor says.
Andres is among thousands of Kroger employees walking the picket line for a livable wage, but United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Local 7 Union leaders tell us they’re fighting for all King Soopers and City Market employees, not just Front Range workers. “Having equal treatment with those folks for Grand Junction, to try and get them up to the same level of wages the folks that are working for King Soopers here on the Front Range, that is one of our many goals,” Kevin Schneider, UFCW Local 7 representative says.
Kroger offered the Local 7 Union salary increases 24 hours before the planned strike, but only for front range employees. “Their offer was unacceptable.” Schneider says, “King Soopers needs to come to the table, they need to bargain in good faith and they need to make sure they are giving their employees a fair and honorable contract that respects them, pays them a livable wage and protects them in their work place.”
While Union workers are on strike, stores are still open but employees are limited. “That’s what we are fighting for right now, if we had competitive wages we wouldn’t need to hire gig workers to come do our work,” Becerril said.
For now, picket signs are only out on the Front Range, but the fight stretches across the mountains. “We had proposals on the table for all of the stores, not just a select few,” Schneider says.
Unionized City Market locations here on the western slope expire at the end of , this month.. until then all eyes are on the front range