Union calls strike against King Soopers stores in Colorado – Greeley Tribune

The union representing workers at King Soopers in Colorado is calling for a strike that could begin as early as Sunday, a day after its contracts with stores in the Denver and Colorado Springs area expire.

Earlier this week, union members at nearly 90 stores voted overwhelmingly for authorize a strike based on unfair labor practices. Kim Cordova, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, said Wednesday that after 5 hours of negotiations, King Soopers was sticking to a proposal she called “riddled with concessions. “that King Soopers wants workers and has not responded to the union’s overall proposal.

Union negotiators rejected the proposal.

“We made the decision to call a strike,” Cordova said. “Which day we pull the picket lines will be a decision our team will make soon. “

The union said Thursday afternoon that it and Albertsons, owner of Albertsons and Safeway stores in Colorado, had agreed to extend their contract and continue to negotiate. Sticking points in the talks include security, sick leave, full-time status and a two-tier pay structure.

UFCW Local 7 negotiated separately with the two companies. Details of the deal were not available.

King Soopers, the largest grocery chain in Colorado and the United States, said in a statement that it made its best offer, which includes $ 148 million for salary increases and signing bonuses over the three coming years. The company, which also owns City Market stores in the state, added that it is offering additional funds for health care benefits without impacting employee health care premiums based on current projections.

“At King Soopers, we want the best for our associates, and our goal is to continue to provide competitive salaries and benefits that we know are so important to our associates and their families,” said Joe Kelley, President of King Soopers / City. Marlet.

However, Cordova said the union believed the $ 148 million would apply to managers and other non-union people and wouldn’t amount to much. She said the money was not enough, especially at a time when Kroger, the parent company of King Sooper, was posting record profits.

King Soopers offers temporary replacement workers $ 18 an hour, which is a higher wage than many of its employees, Cordova said.

The store displayed billboards for replacement workers in the event of a strike.

U.S. grocery sales jumped 11% in 2020, more than triple the growth of the previous two years, the US Census Bureau said. The industry took advantage of the closure of restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic and people ate more meals at home.

Financial documents showed that Kroger’s operating profit was $ 4 billion in 2020, up from $ 3 billion in 2019. Kroger said on December 30 that he had authorized a $ 1 billion in stock repurchases.

The union says the concessions offered by King Soopers include capping the number of sick days workers can take to 48 hours per year and the number of sick days they can accumulate to 96 hours over their lifetimes. Cordova said the company had not responded to concerns about the enforcement of mask warrants and other COVID-19-related precautions, and the call for armed guards due to security concerns.

UFCW Local 7 filed a complaint last week accusing King Soopers of unfair labor practices, including using outside staffing services to fill jobs covered by the union.

The union represents 17,000 grocery store workers in Colorado and Wyoming. Contracts between the union and the two companies expire from Sunday and some do not end until later in February.

Updates to correct that the union and Safeway / Albertsons have agreed to extend their contract and continue to negotiate.

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