Denver (CBS4) Thousands of grocery store workers in the Denver area are on strike after talks broke down between the union and King Sopers. The union says King Sopers and its parent company Kroger have “unfair labor practices.”
King Sopers on Tuesday made the final offer in a protracted bargaining battle with the company, calling it its best offer. This includes an investment of $170 million for wage increases and bonuses for existing employees over the next three years and a starting salary of $16. The union called it outrageous, saying it was only a paisa more, and rejected it with 95% of the vote.
A King Soopers employee told CBS4 over picket lines that several people in his family are King Soopers employees, including both his parents.
“I’m standing out here. I’m not going to cross. If you cross, nobody here wins. If you cross, why did we bother to go on strike,” said Angelica, King Sopers Pharmacy Tech said.
The union – United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 – is calling for better safety precautions, higher pay and affordable health care for employees.
Around 8,400 King Sopers’ employees at 78 stores went on strike at 5 a.m. after the union failed to reach an agreement with the company.
They are demanding better safety precautions, higher wages and affordable health care.
— Shawna Khalafi (@ShawnaKhalafiTV) 12 January 2022
King Sopers called the strike decision reckless and self-respecting. President Joe Kelly said, “Local 7 is doing politics in front of people and preventing us from putting more money in our allies’ pockets.
“The most important thing right now is it’s not just about wages, yes it’s important, Denver has gone up in pricing on everything, but you need to look at the whole thing. We need health care. We have King Sopers has just crossed 1,000 cases. There have been at least five deaths that we are aware of. It affects everyone,” Angelica said.
All King Sopers stores remained open during the strike that began at 5 am on Wednesday.
About 80 grocery stores in Colorado were affected by the UFCW strike, including:
– Arvada (Sheridan Blvd., Candelas Parkway, 64th Ave., Wadsworth Blvd., 58th Ave.)
– Aurora (Colfax Avenue, Hampden Avenue, Havana Street, Buckley Road, Peoria Street, Smoky Hill Road, South Parker Road, 17000 Illif Avenue, Mississippi Avenue)
– Boulder (30th Street)
– Boulder/Gunbarrel (Lookout Road)
– Broomfield (Sheridan Blvd., Hwy 287, 136th Ave.)
– Shatabdi (Arapahoe Road, University Boulevard, Holy Street)
– Commerce City (62nd Avenue, 104th Avenue)
– Denver (Colorado Blvd., MLK Blvd., 1950 Chestnut Place, Quebec Street, Green Valley Ranch Blvd., Florida Ave., 2727 Evans Ave., Monaco Parkway, 9th Ave., Hampden Ave., Sheridan Blvd., Cremeria Street, Spear Blvd.)
– Edgewater (Sheridan Boulevard)
– Englewood (Englewood Parkway, University Boulevard, Federal Boulevard, Sheridan Boulevard)
– Evergreen (Bergen Parkway)
– Federal Heights (84th Ave, 84th Ave)
– Glendale (Leetsdale Drive)
– Golden (South Golden Road)
– Greenwood Village (Holy Street, Yosemite Street)
– Highlands Ranch (Quebec Street, 3000 Red Cedar Drive, University Boulevard, Wildcat Reserve Parkway)
– Lakewood (Alameda Avenue, Alameda Parkway, 1555 Quail Street, Kipling Parkway, Wadsworth Boulevard)
– Littleton (Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton Blvd., South Broadway, Bellevue Ave., 6760 Pierce Street, Ken Carrill Ave.)
– Louisville (South Boulder Road)
– Parker (Cottonwood Drive, Lincoln Avenue, South Parker Road)
– Thornton (120th Ave., 104th Ave)
– Westminster (Wadsworth Parkway, Federal Boulevard)
– Wheat Ridge (Sheridan Boulevard, Youngfield Street)
Around 8,400 union workers are now on strike.