King Soopers grocery workers vote in favor to authorize strike

Union workers with King Soopers and City Market, members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike.

Employees represented by the union began casting votes in the contract dispute with King Soopers/City Market on Thursday morning and finished up Friday night.

“The hard working women and men of King Soopers and City Market are standing together for their families, their customers and their communities,‘ said Kim Cordova, president of Local 7, in a news release.

“We need more full-time jobs, not just for more hours for workers who have earned it, but because you deserve the best customer service when you shop,” Cordova said. “We need first day sick pay and access to healthcare, not just to get better ourselves, but to ensure that the stores are fully staffed when you shop.”

The UFCW Local 7 represents 12,000 of King Soopers and City Market‘s 23,000 employees. The union has bashed the company and its contract proposals since members with the company last month. The existing contract between the two sides ran out in January. Issues raised by the UFCW since have included a lack of across-the-board pay raises included in company proposals and alleged increases to employee health care costs.

King Soopers/City Market, a local subsidiary of Ohio-based grocery giant Kroger, has pushed back, saying would provide significant pay raises for “top rate” associates and others and would not add any costs to employees‘ health benefits packages. That offer, made before the final negotiation session between the two sides broke down, is the company‘s last and best proposal, officials with King Soopers said.

Based on photos of voting members posted to the Friday, authorizing a strike appeared to be the favored option. If voters do favor a strike, it does not mean one would happen immediately, only that workers have authorized the union to pursue that course of action.

Signs advertising temporary work have been placed in many King Soopers stores amid the contract dispute.

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