More than 8,000 workers are on strike at 77 Denver area grocery stores
“The company’s ‘last, best, and final’ offer, in many ways, is worse than its previous offers,” said Kim Cordova, president of the local unit of the striking union. “Clearly, King Soopers/City Market will not voluntarily meet the needs of our workers, despite our repeated pleas for the company to listen to the voices of our members. We strike because it has become clear this is the only way to get what is fair, just, and equitable for the grocery workers who have risked their lives every day just by showing up to work during the pandemic.”
The company said the stores would remain open during the strike, and it criticized the union for not putting the latest contract offer to a vote by the rank and file. The latest offer would raise starting pay to $16 an hour, the company said, and checkers who are currently paid $19.51 an hour would get raises totaling $3.10 an hour, or nearly 16%, over the three-year life of the contract. Employees with 10 or more years of service also would get a $4,000 signing bonus, and less senior workers would get $2,000, according to the company.
The union “is putting politics before people and preventing us from putting more money in our associates’ pockets,” said Joe Kelley, president of King Soopers and City Market. “Creating more disruption for our associates, their families, and Coloradans rather than negotiating for a peaceful resolution is irresponsible and undemocratic.”
Many rank and file union members in other recent contract negotiations rejected tentative labor deals that management described as “best possible” offers.
The retail sector has very little in the way of union representation. US Labor Department stats from 2020 show that only 783,000 retail employees — or 5.1% — are represented by a union, even less than the 7.2% of private sector workers who are unionized. Grocery stores are far more likely than other retailers to have union representation.