City Market, King Soopers employees consider strike over proposed sick leave policy | CraigDailyPress.com

City Market, King Soopers employees consider strike over proposed sick leave policy

Craig Press Staff

Craig City Market shoppers should not be impacted if union employees strike at other Kroger owned stores in Colorado.

Craig’s supermarket is not likely to be impacted by a strike planned at many City Market and King Soopers stores throughout the state.

Union members who work at King Soopers and City Market will vote to authorize a strike Thursday, March 14, and Friday, March 15, following the company's latest proposal, which stipulates workers must wait up to 10 years to be paid sick leave.

"The hard-working men and women who work at King Soopers and City Market deserve access to quality health care and paid, first-day, sick leave when they aren't feeling well," said Kim Cordova, president of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 7. "The latest proposal from King Soopers and City Market is not good for workers, and it is not good for customers."

More than 12,000 workers represented by UFCW Local 7 work at 109 King Soopers and City Market stores in Colorado. Craig store employees are not union members. The nearest union store is the City Market in Steamboat Springs.

Union contracts ended Jan. 12, and Local 7 has been engaged in bargaining for new contracts since mid-December.

King Soopers and City Market are owned by The Kroger Co., the largest traditional grocery retailer in America with more than $122 billion in sales last year alone. In Colorado, it is the leading grocer, claiming 47 percent of grocery sales in the state.

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“Despite that success, King Soopers and City Market are trying to eviscerate the ability of their employees to care for themselves and their families,” union spokesperson Evan Yeats wrote in a news release.

He added the company’s proposals would also result in the following:

• No pay raises over the next three years for about half of the company’s employees.

• Decreased benefits and increased costs for health care.

• Fewer full-time jobs and fewer hours for part-time workers and more "gig economy" jobs that don't support families in stores.

• Reduced income for more than 10,000 Colorado seniors.

• No pay raises or equal access to health care for courtesy clerks, who are disproportionately disabled.

Members will vote in six meetings Thursday and Friday to either accept the King Soopers and City Market offer, which would make them wait for sick leave, or to authorize a strike. A strike authorization doesn't mean workers will walk off the job immediately.

"Authorizing a strike is a difficult decision for any worker," Cordova said, "but we are committed to making King Soopers and City Market a better place to both work and shop. We remain hopeful that the company will come to the table with an offer that provides King Soopers and City Market workers with the benefits they have earned and deserve."