Union announces official end to King Soopers strike after contract vote

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Union members of King Soopers went on strike across the metro region the morning of Jan. 12, 2022, including the location at 3050 S. Peoria St. in Aurora. On Monday, union officials said members have ratified a tentatively approved contract, officially ending the strike that began Jan. 12. 
Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

AURORA | A union representing workers at Denver and Aurora King Soopers stores announced Monday night that local members had voted to ratify a new contract with the grocery chain, marking the end of their recent strike.

“This would not have been possible without the support of our allies throughout Colorado and across the country,” said Kim Cordova, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local No. 7, in a press release. “To those who stood alongside our members, honored the picket line and showed up in solidarity, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

More than 8,000 workers at 78 King Soopers stores in the Denver metropolitan area went on strike starting Jan. 12 to protest what they called unfair labor practices on the part of King Soopers and parent company Kroger.

The company leveled the same accusation against the union and at one point requested a temporary restraining order to limit picket lines in front of stores.

Workers also said the company had not included living wages and other benefits in their counterproposals while negotiating a contract.

The strike lasted nine days, until last Friday, when a tentative agreement was reached allowing union members to return to work.

On Monday, the local grocery store workers voted on a new three-year contract that Cordova said included “the most significant wage increase ever secured by a UFCW local for grocery workers,” upward of $5 an hour for some employees.

The release said the new contract also features improved health care and pension benefits, more stringent workplace safety measures and new paths to full-time employment.

“From the beginning of this process, we promised our members that we would procure the very best contract we could,” Cordova said. “We are excited that our members voted overwhelmingly to ratify this industry-leading contract that will ensure King Soopers will respect and protect essential workers as well as pay them fairly.”

The release noted that voting will continue in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Grand Junction and northern Colorado over the next week. It did not specify what percentage of the local’s membership had voted already, or what percentage voted in favor.

King Soopers and City Market president Joe Kelley said in a separate release that the company was “thrilled” workers in the Denver metro bargaining unit had voted to ratify the deal.

“Our goal since day one has been to put more money in our associates’ paychecks, and we are thrilled that our associates in the Denver metro bargaining area have voted yes on this offer,” he said.

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