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Employees who crossed King Soopers picket lines now face consequences from union

"It seems a little harsh and a little bizarre, but yes, under the law … a union can charge fees for those union members who crossed the picket line."

DENVER — The King Soopers grocery strike lasted nine days in January.

For workers who crossed the picket line, however, the effects of that strike could last months.

UFCW Local 7, the union for grocery workers, issued fines to members who chose to work.

Those fines average more than they earn in a day. Fines that are legally allowed.

A union member, who did not want to be identified out of fear of retaliation, received a letter seeking thousands of dollars in fines for crossing the picket line.

The letter stated that the union worker violated a section of the union bylaws for crossing and working behind a lawfully established picket line.

"The Local Union's Executive Board has directed that all members who crossed the picket line in violation of the obligations described above shall be subject to a fine of $250 per day of the violation, as well as all monies earned by you from King Soopers during said dates of these violations," the letter stated.

Credit: 9NEWS

"It seems a little harsh and a little bizarre, but yes, under the law, under the National Labor Relations Act and state statutes and the collective bargaining agreement, a union can charge fees for those union members who crossed the picket line," said 9NEWS legal analyst Whitney Traylor.

Traylor said that unions have the power to go after union workers financially.

"The union's strongest leverage is to strike, so if members are crossing that picket line, that defeats and takes away a lot of the union's power, and therefore, they do have these rights to penalize members who cross the line," said Traylor.

The letter gives the union worker until May 1 to dispute the fines. Traylor said the worker can try to make an argument that the fine is too much.

"If they're charging $250 a day, that's likely more than the person's making daily. That's a strong argument for being excessive," said Traylor.

The appeal is made to the UFCW Local 7 Executive Board, the same board that set the fine amount at $250 per day.

"Essentially, you're appealing [to] the people who made the decision," said Traylor.

UFCW Local 7 President Kim Cordova responded in a text message on Tuesday morning. She confirmed that fines are being issued.

"The Union is disciplining members in the form of fines for crossing the picket lines during the King Soopers strike. The members have a right to appeal their fine to the Executive Board which is comprised of all rank and file members," wrote Cordova. "Those members that crossed betrayed their fellow union members who struck and achieved the richest contract in King Soopers history."

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