The union representing more than 8,000 King Soopers employees on strike across the metro area and the company appear headed back to the bargaining table.

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

“We are pleased that after nearly a week the union has finally responded to our request to meet. We look forward to returning to the bargaining table to resume negotiations and find a deal that puts more money in our associates paychecks,” Jessica Trowbridge said in an email.

Kim Cordova, the union president, said the picket lines at stores from Boulder to Parker will remain up as the negotiations continue.

“We remain committed to honoring the near-unanimous vote by Local 7 members to strike against the company for unfair labor practices,” Cordova said in a statement. “And we will continue until the company proves it will treat essential workers with the dignity they deserve.”

During a rally Thursday, a day after employees walked off the job, Cordova said the union asked that King Soopers leaders from Colorado be at the table to continue talks. She said Joe Kelley, president of King Soopers and City Market stores in Colorado, only briefly attended bargaining sessions, which broke off the first week in January.

Out-of-state lawyers and corporate executives for Cincinnati-based Kroger, which owns King Soopers and City Market, are the ones who’ve been negotiating, Cordova told the crowd of about 200 union members and supporters.

“If we don’t have people from Colorado, we think it’s going to be unproductive to continue to talk to somebody who cares nothing about you, about Colorado values. They don’t have to look at you ever again,” Cordova.

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 March 22. The store was set to reopen Jan. 20, but Kelley said it would be a milestone and that “it must be free of distractions,” referring to the strike.

King Soopers has criticized the union for calling a strike after the company made an offer that included $148 million for wage increases, bonuses and investments in health care. The company made a revised proposal on Tuesday of $170 million. The UFCW Local 7 bargaining …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – News


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King Soopers, union appear headed back to bargaining table after second day of strike

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