King Soopers labor union gives update on planned strike

If the two sides do not come to an agreement, employees at Denver-area stores will begin striking at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

DENVER — The labor union that represents King Soopers employees held a news conference Monday to respond to the company’s request for a return to bargaining ahead of a planned strike.

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7, which represents King Soopers employees in Colorado, said employees at 78 Colorado stores will strike at 5 a.m. Wednesday if an agreement is not reached by then. They plan to strike for three weeks. 

UFCW Local 7 president Kim Cordova said the strike includes about 8,700 workers in the Denver, Broomfield, Parker and Boulder areas. The contracts for employees at those stores expired Saturday, she said.

RELATED: King Soopers employees to begin strike Jan. 12, union says

On Friday, King Soopers said in a letter to UFCW Local 7 that it had reviewed the union proposal and was interested in attempting to resolve their differences and achieve a new labor agreement.

RELATED: King Soopers responds to labor union after strike planned

Cordova said Monday that the store is proposing a starting wage of $16 an hour, which is 13 cents over Denver’s minimum wage. 

“That 13 cents is not going to improve the lives of our grocery workers, who have done so much for these companies,” she said. 

She said in addition to higher wages, workers want armed security and other safety improvements in stores, a faster path to full-time jobs, better health benefts and a secure pension plan. 

> Watch the full union press conference from Monday afternoon

King Soopers released the details of its latest offer Thursday, which they said includes wage investments and signing bonuses of more than $148 million over the next three years:

  • Wage increases of up to $4.50 an hour in the first year with additional increases over the life of the contract.
  • Starting pay increased to $16 an hour.
  • Ratification bonuses for active associates: $4,000 for 10+ years of service, $2,000 for less than 10 years.

The offer also includes an additional company investment into health care benefits that would result in “zero impact” to current premiums based on current projections, King Soopers said.

The union is accusing the company of unfair labor practices, saying they have failed to provide necessary information and tried to negotiate directly with employees.

On Monday, the company said they had filed unfair labor practice charges against the union “for refusing to bargain in good faith,” saying the union had rejected mediation services. Cordova said the union is not interested in working with a federal mediator, saying “adding another presence is not going to be productive.”

RELATED: King Soopers employees preauthorize strike in nearly unanimous vote

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