King Soopers workers voting on whether to strike

DENVER — Approximately 12,000 King Soopers and City Market employees are voting on Thursday and Friday whether to strike.

A "yes" vote would not necessarily mean the employees would walk off the job, but it would give them the opportunity to do so if negotiations fall apart.

The United Food and Commercial Workers 7 (UFCW Local 7) have been negotiating since the end of 2018 and working without a contract since January.

The union represents slightly more than half the company's 23,000 employees in the Denver area.

King Soopers said the company's latest offer increases some employee wages in the next three years by more than $2,000.

It also said employees would not pay more for health care coverage and would keep their company-funded pension.

"We always have our associates in mind," King Soopers spokesman Adam Williamson told FOX31. "We believe this is a strong contract for them."

UFCW Local 7 disputes some of those details and states that with the current offer, about half of the company's employees would not receive a raise and many would see decreased benefits and increased health care costs. The union also said the contract would amount to fewer full-time jobs and fewer hours for part-time employees.

"I'm ready to strike," said meat department manager Bernadette Brown. "I can't accept this contract."

Brown has worked for King Soopers for 27 years.

One of the biggest issues for her and other employees is sick time.

Right now, some employees don't get paid sick time until their third day of calling in sick.

"That is just not right," Brown said. "How does the community feel when our members are coming in sick?"

Williamson said sick time is something that's negotiable, like everything else in the contract.

"With the current offer that’s out there, it’s all a benefit to our associates," Williamson said. "There’s nothing with the current offer that takes anything from the associates."

King Soopers is currently hiring temporary workers in case there is a strike.

The result of the strike vote should be known late Friday.

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