King Soopers, union seems to be on its way back to the negotiating table after the second day of the strike – The Denver Post

The union, which represents more than 8,000 King Soopers employees on strike across the metro area, and the company appear to be on their way back to the negotiating table.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 asked King Soopers dealers to resume contract negotiations on Friday. A spokeswoman for King Soopers, Colorado’s largest grocery chain, said Thursday the company is looking forward to returning to negotiations.

“We are pleased that after almost a week, the union has finally responded to our request to meet. We look forward to returning to the negotiating table to resume negotiations and find an agreement that provides more money in our employees’ pay slips.” said Jessica Trowbridge in an email.

Kim Cordova, the union president, said the bar lines in the stores from Boulder to Parker will remain up while negotiations continue.

“We remain committed to honoring the almost unanimous vote of the local 7 members to strike against the company for unfair work practices,” Cordova said in a statement. “And we will continue until the company proves that it will treat important workers with the dignity they deserve.”

During a demonstration Thursday, a day after employees left the job, Cordova said the union asked that King Sooper’s leaders from Colorado be at the table to continue negotiations. She said Joe Kelley, president of King Soopers and City Market stores in Colorado, only briefly attended negotiation meetings, which interrupted the first week of January.

Out-of-state attorneys and business executives for Cincinnati-based Kroger, which owns King Soopers and City Market, are the ones who have negotiated, Cordova told the crowd of about 200 union members and supporters.

“If we do not have people from Colorado, we think it will be unproductive to continue talking to someone who does not care about you, about Colorado values. They will never have to look at you again,” Cordova said.

The company announced Thursday that it is delaying the reopening of a King Soopers store in Boulder, where 10 people were killed in a mass shooting on March 22. The store was to reopen on Jan. 20, but Kelley said it would be a milestone and that “it should be free of disruption,” referring to the strike.

King Soopers has criticized the union for calling for a strike after the company made an offer that included $ 148 million for salary increases, bonuses and investments in healthcare. The company on Tuesday submitted a revised proposal of $ 170 million. The UFCW Local 7 Negotiating Committee, which Cordova said was chaired by union members, rejected the original proposal on January 5, and negotiations stopped. Tuesday’s offer was also rejected.

Last week, union members in Boulder, Denver, Parker and Colorado Springs voted overwhelmingly to approve a strike on allegations of unfair working practices. The stores’ contracts expired on Saturday, January 8th. Colorado Springs workers did not leave the job because the contact with the meat workers has not ended yet.

Cordova said the union initially called for a three-week strike because its contracts with King Soopers and City Market expire at different times. Other stores across the state could eventually join the work action, she said.

Other contracts expire later in January and in February.

Kelley has said the union must allow members to vote on the company’s latest proposal. He said in an interview Tuesday that “a huge amount of our employees” asked the union for a vote on the company’s offer.

Cordova said Thursday that the company finally provided some of the data on salaries, pensions and other items.

“But they want us to negotiate from their proposal. That’s not how negotiations work,” Cordova said.

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