DENVER — United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 announced Friday morning that its members will strike against King Soopers beginning next week over claims of unfair labor practices.
The strike will begin at 5 a.m. on Jan. 12 and continue until Feb. 2, the union said. It only applies to union stores.
In a statement released along with the official announcement of the strike, Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7 in Colorado and Wyoming and vice president of UFCW International, said their plea remains the same.
“Stop these unfair labor practices, and respect us, protect us and pay us what we deserve," Cordova said. "UFCW Local 7 members will remain on strike until the company agrees to cease these unfair labor practices and comes to the negotiating table in good faith. During this strike, we ask for the support of our community. We are grateful for all the overwhelming support received and for the individuals, union partners, organizations that will be coming to Colorado to support our efforts and fight. We will continue to be relentless in the fight for our members.”
Representatives from the company said the union's decision to strike is preventing its members from voting on their contract, which would "allow associates to choose what is best for them and their families," and called the decision by UFCW Local 7 to strike “reckless” and “disruptive”. The company also urged Local 7 to consider "the full implications for its members and the Colorado community."
“At a time when we want to invest more than ever in wage increases and affordable health care, Local 7 has chosen disruption and the unknown for our associates and their families,” said Joe Kelley, president of King Soopers. “We care deeply about our associates which is why we’ve come to the table with a robust offer that is the best offer in King Soopers/City Market’s history, that puts more money in our associates’ pockets while maintaining our commitment to invest in the whole person with industry leading healthcare.”
This comes after months of discussions between the union and representatives from King Soopers.
UFCW represents about 17,000 grocery workers from Kroger and King Soopers. According to The Denver Post, the strike will involve approximately 8,400 workers at 78 stores.
On Thursday, Cordova said the union intends to call for a strike against King Soopers after “repeated attempts to bring about an end to King Soopers’ unfair labor practices.” Representatives from King Soopers have retorted, saying that they had proposed a comprehensive best offer to settle with UFCW Local 7. The offer reportedly includes wage investments and signing bonuses of more than $148 million over the next three years, as well as additional investments in health care benefits that would not impact premiums.
In a prepared statement, Joe Kelley, president of King Soopers/City Market, said the union is “threatening disruption instead of focusing on what is best for our associates, their members.”
Cordova claimed King Soopers has refused to produce information critical to bargaining negotiations and has also failed to bargain in good faith with the union.
Local 7 filed a lawsuit against King Soopers last week, claiming a breach of contract over hiring vendors in the stores to perform work done by Local 7 members, with vendor employees being paid more than many King Soopers employees.