EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Negotiations between King Soopers and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7 continue Wednesday. The UFCW Union Local 7 has filed a lawsuit against King Soopers, citing unfair labor practices.
In Southern Colorado, 95% of Colorado Springs retail workers, and 97% of meat workers voted to strike. King Soopers workers will work through their current agreement, which ends Saturday, January 8th at 11:59 p.m.
Kevin Schneider, a UFCW Local 7 representative says, "Based on their actions yesterday, failing to respond to our proposals, if that conduct continues today and they commit unfair labor practices, it’s highly likely there would be a picket line next week."
Schneider said workers have taken the brunt of abuse from customers while King Soopers has profited during the pandemic.
"We’ve had employees tell us they’ve been spit on, they’ve been sworn at," Schneider said. "Companies have made billions of dollars in profits in the past 21 months with the pandemic and that needs to be shared with the workers."
King Soopers/City Market has proposed to invest $145 Million in new wages over the next four years. It would bring over 75% of workers' average hourly wage to $18 an hour, with more than half of workers making over $20 an hour.
King Soopers provided a statement to KRDO saying in part, "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 threatening disruption?"
It continues, "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."
In response to King Soopers' offer to employees, Schneider says, "It wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t good enough. It didn’t address the many concerns that workers had and that’s why we’re still in bargaining."
The UFCW Local 7 represents about 17,000 grocery workers from King Soopers and Kroger in Colorado and Wyoming.
If workers decide to strike, it would begin on Sunday, January 9th, after the employment agreement is to expire.