‘Store shelves are already empty’: King Soopers shoppers express concern over pending strike

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — Shoppers can expect some big changes and disruptions on Wednesday and possibly over the next few weeks. Thousands of King Soopers workers are expected to line the streets on strike, and shoppers are concerned about what this means for them.

FOX31 investigators visited stores on Tuesday evening and it was business as usual as customers were stocking up on groceries hoping to avoid that fallout of Wednesday’s pending strike.

Ryan Fitzgerald says he frequently shops at King Soopers on Quebec Street.

“It would be a big impact for us,” Fitzgerald said. “This has always been our store. There are employees that have been here this entire time that we know by name and that would hurt us.”

Fitzgerald is referring to the hurt that would come if his local grocery store was to close its doors. King Soopers president, Joe Kelley, explained that store closures across the Denver metro are a real possibility due to the strike.

The union’s contract expired over the weekend. On Tuesday morning, King Soopers made a last-ditch effort with a new contract proposal that included raises of up to $4.50 an hour, depending on job classification and tenure. It also included ratification bonuses of $2,000 or $4,000. King Soopers says a full-time checker with five years of experience would be making $47,000 annually under the proposal.

However, late Tuesday afternoon, the union rejected the proposal, as its leaders were upset about pay and the company’s use of non-union workers.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union President Kim Cordova took to social media to explain the decision calling the proposal “unacceptable” and “insulting,” which means workers will strike. Local shoppers are worried that store shelves could become emptier during the ongoing pandemic.

“Many of the counters to check out don’t have anyone to check people out,” one shopper said. “Store shelves are already empty all the time.”

FOX31 looked at store shelves on Tuesday and some were bare while others were stocked. Kelley says pandemic staffing shortages combined with strike shortages will affect what shoppers see in their local stores. They’re advised to be prepared for long lines and fewer items on the shelves.

UFCW representatives told FOX31 that pharmacists and pharmacy clerks are not represented under their union. Customers should be able to pick up their prescriptions like normal, for now, but be prepared for disruptions outside the store.

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