King empire

Looming strike at King Soopers stores in Kroger as union negotiations collapse

The only proposal in the three days of talks came from the union, which company officials asked them to review, said Liz Wesley, a store manager in Colorado Springs who spent 17 years in the grocery chain.

“The (company) doesn’t take our proposals seriously,” Wesley said. “We want a better deal for us.”

The company has filed unfair practice charges against the union for refusing to bargain in good faith, King Soopers said Monday.

King Soopers operates more than 100 stores in Colorado and is the # 1 grocery chain for market share in the state. Its sales have exploded during the pandemic, with shares of its parent company Kroger reaching an all-time high last week.

Last month, King Soopers offered more than $ 145 million in new wages over the next four years, taking the average hourly wage of 75% of associates to over $ 18 and over $ 20 for over 50%. of them.

The union rejected the offer, following which the company reduced it to $ 148 million in wages and signing bonuses over three years.

On January 7, a day before the contract between the company and workers in metro Denver and the cities of Broomfield, Parker and Boulder ended, the union warned of a strike starting at 5 a.m. (1200 GMT) Wednesday.

King Soopers sought the help of a federal mediator, but Cordova rejected the decision, saying “at this point in the process adding another presence will not be productive.”

It comes after the union last month filed a lawsuit against the grocery chain for violating an agreement by using third-party services to hire workers who then paid them wages from $ 16 an hour, plus than the wage rate for many King Soopers workers.

The company said the union had given no indication of when they would resume the bargaining process.

(Reporting by Ananya Mariam Rajesh and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Christian Schmollinger)