DENVER — There is no timeline on when or if union workers at King Soopers and City Workers across Colorado could hit the picket line after they voted to authorize a strike late Friday.
Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7 who work at King Soopers and City Market voted for the strike after negotiations ended without a new contract. Their current contract expired Jan. 12 and bargaining has been ongoing since mid-December, the union said.
Representatives from both sides spoke with 9NEWS Monday morning and neither could provide a clear timeline on when a walkout might happen. One of the biggest sticking points is wage increases for workers.
"Wage increases for all of our associates throughout the three-year contract that's top tier as well as wage progression," said King Soopers spokesperson Adam Williamson. "I don't know where it fell apart but I can say it's a real strong offer that's out there and we're willing to get back there to the table to see what else needs to be done."
The company's offer also includes a strong pension plan and no increases in healthcare costs, according to Williamson.
The union president disputed the fact that all workers would see pay raises under the proposal.
"The wage proposal that they offered only applied to, less than half of the workers that were at the top end," Kim Cordova said Monday morning. "The rest of the workers were not either going to receive a wage increase or receive a small increase and their hours would reset and they would have to rework hours and it would take them longer to work through the wage progressions."
Cordova also said the proposal did not guarantee that over the life of the contract that healthcare and pension costs would not be shifted to workers.
A strike date has not been set, but the union said Friday's vote allows UFCW leadership to call for a strike at any time. Williamson said they hope to come up with an agreement to a avert a strike and said they've reached out to the union with the hope of resuming negotiations.
"We have a plan in place if it gets to that," he said. "No one wants a strike. No one, however, we have to be prepared because we want as little disruption as possible for the customers who need groceries."
The union also said they're willing to get back to the bargaining table but as of Monday morning, no new talks have been scheduled.
"We're willing to go back and talk to them," Cordova said. "We just want to make sure we have a good sense of that company's going to keep their word on what's on the table and what's off."
More than 12,000 workers represented by UFCW Local 7 work at 109 King Soopers and City Market stores in Colorado. The last strike was in 1996, according to King Soopers.
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