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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

KING SOOPERS STRIKE: Grocer and union’s negotiation goes nowhere

DENVER (KDVR) — King Soopers and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 union sat down to work on reaching an agreement on improved pay and conditions for workers.

A day of negotiations did not go well according to the Local 7 union.

Union president Kim Cordova released a video update Friday afternoon saying the two parties did not get anywhere.

“Joe Kelley [Kings Soopers’ president] did show up which I was surprised but glad that he came to the table today. We’ve had some back and forth this morning. It’s been very unproductive, the company came in and they have acted very unprofessional and in fact have been screaming almost across the table,” said Cordova.

She said things got so dicey, King Soopers leadership stormed out of the meeting.

King Soopers responded by issuing a statement to KDVR:

This is a misrepresentation of the truth. Joe is in fact passionate about advocating on behalf of our associates. The rhetoric and mistruths do nothing to benefit our associates and they deserve better.

Our position remains the same, we’ve put all the money on the table and our associates should have a right to choose what’s best for them and their families – let them vote.

Jessica Trowbridge, King Soopers and City Market Corporate Affairs

The union issued a statement at 7:30 p.m. Friday reading:

After days of striking and repeatedly asking King Soopers to listen to the voices of the employees and cease the Company’s unfair labor practices, UFCW Local 7 members met with King Soopers leadership today to continue discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement. Unfortunately, after just 68 minutes of across the table discussion spread throughout the day, during which King Soopers did not present a single proposal, while the Union presented new offers on twelve (12) different topics covering the parties’ competing proposals, discussions ended for the day.  

The Essential Workers, who have put their lives at risk throughout this pandemic to feed the Colorado community, have stood on the picket lines this week, lifting their voices together to protest the unfair labor practices at King Scoopers/Kroger. Our voices have fallen on deaf ears.

The offer King Soopers has on the table for workers today is even worse than it was in the days before the strike, ignoring virtually all of the proposals presented by workers, with no new economic gains – and even omitting the $4,000 sell-out bonuses which King Soopers had previously offered workers in order to get them to accept a concessionary contract.

King Soopers’ latest proposal contains numerous poison pill provisions, one of which would make wage rates proposed by the Company worth less than the paper they are printed on. Under this proposal, workers could forfeit daily overtime pay and are some are looking at wage cuts of up to $3.34 per hour.

King Soopers’ leadership has been aware of the struggles of their essential workers for years. Last night,  More Perfect Union released parts of an internal King Soopers’ presentation that showed the abject poverty our members are living in, often without a place to sleep or food to eat. So, it comes as no shock that once again, King Soopers decided to do nothing.

Our strike against the unfair labor practices from King Soopers will continue until the Company comes to the table in good faith and listens to the voices of workers. We remain hopeful that the Company will truly see and hear our members and decide to finally respect us, protect us, and pay us what we deserve.

 Kim Cordova, President of UFCW Local 7

The two groups decided they would meet around 11 a.m. Friday morning to work on a compromise. The groups have been going back and forth all week with the grocer accusing the union of using stall tactics but the union said they are coming to the table in good faith. Picket lines will stay up as they work on a solution. Negotiations are set to continue Saturday.

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