DENVER — King Soopers and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 (UFCW Local 7) both announced early Friday that they had reached a tentative agreement for the next three years, ending the strike that started Jan. 12.
The specifics have not been released yet in terms of change to pay or benefits. Members of UFCW Local 7, which represents Denver-area King Soopers workers, will vote on the contract on Jan. 24. Those final details will be available to the public after the vote.
This news came after 10 days of striking and several months of negotiations.
The strike is immediately over and employees can go back to their work as early as Friday, UFCW Local 7 said, however they have up to seven days to return.
In a press release, UFCW Local 7 said the tentative agreement "ensure(s) that workers are respected and protected in the workplace, and compensated with wages they deserve as essential workers."
About 8,000 workers at 78 stores in the Denver metro, Boulder, Broomfield and Parker regions went on strike around the Denver metro area to protest what they said were unfair labor practices. In response, King Soopers, the state's largest grocery chain, maintained they've met the needs the union asked for, such as increased wages, better healthcare options and more tools for on-the-job safety.
“After months of negotiations and after our members walked out on strike, we have reached a tentative agreement with King Soopers/City Market that addresses the Company’s unfair labor practices and ensures that our members will receive the respect, pay, and protection they warrant," Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7, said in a statement. "This fight will always be about the workers. I could not be prouder of our members who put it all on the line to have their voices heard. ... Now, our members have the contracts they deserve and can be proud of."
Joe Kelley, president of King Soopers and City Market, said the company is "pleased that this agreement allows us to put more money in our associates’ paychecks and secures healthcare and pension plans."
Kelley said UFCW Local 7 will share the details of the agreement with its members and will then vote.
Two vote meetings will happen Monday at the Crowne Plaza Convention Center near DIA, each at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., where union members can vote yes or no on the new agreement.
But some workers Denver7 spoke with Friday have concerns about what that agreement looks like as the store chain and the union are keeping mum.
"Other workers and myself are concerned, and we want to make sure that it's a really good contract," said long-term King Soopers employee Robin McCraken. "I have a lot of faith in our union boss, Kim Cordova, but we want to make sure that the language in there … there's not anything missing that's going to affect this in the long run."
No other details on the terms of the end of the strike were immediately available.