DENVER (KDVR) — King Soopers President Joe Kelley is encouraging striking workers to have full knowledge of the “Last, Best and Final” offer that the union rejected.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 continued to strike against the national grocer for the fifth day as both parties returned to the table for negotiations on Sunday morning.
“Our associates deserve to know the facts of our Last, Best and Final Offer,” Kelley said. “The UFCW continues to distribute fear over facts that only creates uncertainty for everyone. Our associates deserve to have their voices heard and the opportunity to vote on what’s best for them and their families— let them vote.”
Unfortunately, negotiations stalled and will pick up again Monday at 3 p.m.
“The company is disappointed that the process is moving slowly but pleased that progress is being made,” King Soopers said in a statement released Sunday night. “The King Soopers and City Market team will continue to make themselves available to come to an agreement that puts more money in their associates paychecks.”
Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7, also issued the following statement:
“After three consecutive days of negotiations, we have yet to reach an agreement that meets the demands of our members. The Company refuses to address the skyrocketing costs of living and documented food insecurity in Colorado by not paying Essential Grocery workers a living wage they deserve. For months, workers have demanded the Company take their proposals seriously and have been met with deafening silence.
“Even after workers voted almost unanimously to walk off the job in response to King Soopers’ unfair labor practices, the Company has still failed to take our demands seriously. A new agreement must ensure a safe place to work, which also means a safe place to shop.”
Why the two are at an impasse
The union and King Soopers are at odds on contract negotiations with topics including wages, health care, safety and more. King Soopers provided this chart outlining the company’s offers to the union:
UFCW Local 7 workers in the Denver and Colorado Springs areas voted to strike against King Soopers just after the new year with the expiration of the existing contract looming on Jan. 8.
Multiple proposals have been submitted to the union but each has been rejected and the union has stayed firm with accusations of unfair labor practices that escalated into a lawsuit filed by the union.
One offer that included wage investments and signing bonuses of more than $148 million over the next three years was rejected prior to the expiration of the current contract. Union officials announced the intent to strike on Jan. 9.
The company’s latest proposal, a $170 million package that would raise wages over the next three years, including bonuses, and would invest in health care benefits “that would result in zero impact” to current premiums was not accepted by the union on Friday.
Supporters, opponents voice opinions
Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young pledged his support to the workers at a rally held Thursday last week.
“I am not going to cross that picket line. I have a well-worn King Soopers card in my wallet but I’m not going in Kings until this is a fair contract,” Young said.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser handed out chocolates to workers on the picket line.
“I’m here to support these workers and until these workers are back on the job being treated fairly, I’m not going to shop at King Soopers,” Weiser said.
Not all union workers are choosing to strike though.
Robert Tabacchi said on day one, “I completely disagree with the strike. Stop this please.”
A union member for 12 years, Tabacchi decided to cross the picket line to clock in. He says he does not agree with the union’s approach, sending a message to union president Kim Cordova.
“You’re not going to achieve what you want. You’re misleading them. You keep saying it’s about wages when it clearly isn’t,” Tabacchi said.