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King Soopers employees preauthorize strike in nearly unanimous vote

UFCW Local 7 said 98% of King Soopers retail employees and 97% of meat employees in Denver voted in support of striking amid contract negotiations.

DENVER — Some King Soopers employees in Colorado preauthorized going on strike amid contract negations after nearly unanimous votes on Sunday and Monday, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7 labor union.

UFCW Local 7 said the following groups of employees voted to preauthorize picketing:

  • Denver Retail - 98% voted to strike
  • Denver Meat - 97% voted to strike
  • Colorado Springs Retail - 95% voted to strike
  • Colorado Springs Meat - 97% voted to strike
  • Broomfield Retail and Meat - 100% voted to strike
  • Boulder Meat - 100% voted to strike
  • Parker Meat - 100% voted to strike

According to UFCW Local 7, the current collective bargaining agreement will expire on Jan. 8, and workers are being told by the union to continue reporting to work until advised otherwise. 

>Video above from November: Colorado labor unions take action as demand grows and shortages continue.

The votes comes as UFCW Local 7 claims King Soopers is circumventing the union by hiring outside workers at higher rates, prohibiting union activity, attempting to bargain directly with workers instead of the union and imposing unfair labor practices.

“It’s unfortunate that instead of working directly with Local 7, King Soopers has opted to make unfair, unilateral changes to its policies with no regard to what is being discussed currently at the bargaining table," said Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7. "These significant policy changes disrespect our workers and undermine their voices. We have no choice but to enter this pre-strike vote. We need to make sure King Soopers and its leadership fully comprehend the importance of respecting, protecting, and paying essential grocery workers what they deserve, which is what we will continue to fight for.”

UFCW Local 7 previously announced on Wednesday that it was filing a lawsuit accusing King Soopers of breaching the current collective bargaining agreement by using third-party staffing services.

A King Soopers spokesperson released the following statement Monday evening:

We take our obligation to provide our communities with access to fresh food and other essentials very seriously. At a time when Coloradoans are coming together to support our communities the UFCW LOCAL 7 is threating disruption?

Let’s be clear, Local 7 issued a strike authorization vote related to alleged unfair labor practices. These allegations are just that, allegations, as King Soopers/City Market has followed the law and has NOT received any notice of wrongdoing from the National Labor Relations Board.

The company is in the process of filing unfair labor practice charges against the union president and Local 7 for its bad faith bargaining and tactics as well as pursuing other legal action for unlawful conduct.

As it relates to our labor contract, we are focused on negotiating in good faith a contract that puts more money in our associates pockets. Last week King Soopers provided a comprehensive offer that included $145 million in new wage investments – a proposal that the UFCW Local 7 have yet to counteroffer.

We care deeply about our associates and know that a work stoppage creates a troubling position that often leads to financial hardships for our associates. Respectfully, we ask Local 7 to put people before politics and do the work our associates have paid them nearly $20mm over the last three years to do, negotiate on their behalf.  We remain committed to bargaining in good faith and to settling a contract that is good for our associates while keeping groceries affordable for our customers.

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