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King Soopers Strike Day 7 Update: Battle for Hearts and Minds

The last negotiating session between United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 and Kroger-belonging King Soopers, Colorado’s largest grocery chain, the ongoing strike appears to have been a marathon. On Jan. 17, the sixth day of the walkout, the two sides were scheduled to sit down at the Denver Tech Center Marriott around 3 p.m., but Local 7 didn’t release its “negotiations update” until 12:42 a.m. today , January 18.

“We’ve wrapped up for the night,” the article said. “No progress, but we’ll be back tomorrow morning at DTC Marriott.”

In the meantime, the battle for the hearts and minds of customers continues, with King Soopers trying to deliver its messages via a deluge of TV ads and the union pushing back on social media.

Yesterday, Mayor Michael Hancock offered a boost to Local 7, who slipped a pro-labor message into a speech marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

At the start of the holiday, reports surfaced that organizers of the annual MLK Day marade had withdrawn King Soopers as sole sponsor of the event. (According to 9Newsthe company is not asking for a refund of its sponsorship contribution “because love should always outweigh hate.”) Shortly after, Hancock delivered remarks at the annual MLK Marade that echoed the King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, saying at one point, “I have a dream today that you will go to King Soopers not to cross a line, but to stand with these workers and tell them, ‘Thank you for sticking with us through COVID. “”

The quote appears near the end of the brief second video below, as tweeted by Hancock:

King Soopers has yet to release a statement on the Jan. 17 talks or Marade’s sponsorship; the most recent post on his Facebook page was added on January 11. This article is about delivery discounts that would presumably allow customers to order from King Soopers without having to cross a picket line. It reads: “We want to make sure our community can always get the fresh groceries and essentials they need right now. We are offering $1 delivery and other pickup locations for make sure that happens.”

The company also advertises heavily on local TV stations, alternating familiar animated spots using the hip-hop party staple “Get Low,” repurposed to reference bargain prices, with a spot in which managers discuss the many opportunities for advancement that King Soopers offers. (Note that most supervisors are not part of the estimates 58 percent unionized employees.)

For its part, Local 7 is using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok to distribute photos and videos of workers protesting by waving signs and posing with politicians such as District 31 candidate Said Sharbini. Most of the posts include text about “being strong” and hashtags such as “#dontshopkingsoopers” and “#dobetterkingsoopers”.

Additionally, the union offered this connection to MLK Day: “The day before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, he gave a speech in support of the sanitation workers who were on strike. Today “today we have over 8,000 workers on strike fighting for dignity and respect like our sisters and brothers before us. As we pay tribute to Dr King today, let us remember his words: ‘All work that uplifts humanity has dignity and significance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”