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UFCW Local 7 says it intends to strike, King Soopers says unfair labor practices claims are unfounded

Posted at 11:33 AM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 20:01:02-05

DENVER – The back-and-forth between the union representing thousands of workers in Denver and Boulder and representatives from King Soopers continued Thursday with threats of a strike and a dismissal from the company regarding claims of unfair labor practices made by the president of the union.

On Thursday, Kim Cordova, the president of UFCW Local 7 in Colorado and Wyoming and vice president of UFCW International, 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, however, said not long after that announcement 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 following the announcement from the union, Joe Kelley, the president of King Soopers/City Market said the union, meanwhile, is “threatening disruption instead of focusing on what is best for our associates, their members.”

But Cordova claims King Sooper has refused to produce information critical to bargaining negotiations and has also failed to bargain in good faith with the union.

“The Company continues to bring in record profits, while its workforce endures low wages amid a skyrocketing cost of living,” she said. “King Soopers has chosen to protect its bottom line, instead of protecting workers who have risked their lives every day since the start of this pandemic just by showing up to work.”

King Soopers representatives said Thursday those claims are unfounded.

“King Soopers/City Market has followed the law and has NOT received any notice of wrongdoing from the National Labor Relations Board,” said a representative in a news release.

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.

Cordova, who said Thursday the union would announce a strike date “in the coming days,” is asking for the support of the community so their workers can get the wages she says they deserve.

A previous date of Sunday, Jan. 9, was given as the beginning of the strike by union members, a day after contracts expire between the union and the company. It’s unclear at this point if that date still stands.