Jan 25, 2022 - News

King Soopers strike ends — but workers' fight for better benefits persists

Grocery workers listen to union president Kim Cordova review the King Soopers contract before union members voted to ratify the agreement. Photo courtesy of Jimena Peterson/UFCW7

The 10-day labor dispute dominating Denver-area King Soopers and City Market grocery stores is over, but workers' battle to secure better benefits rages on.

Driving the news: Union members on Monday voted to ratify a three-year agreement that strengthens their rights and ends the strike that sent more than 8,000 employees to the picket lines.

  • The contract includes first-year pay bumps exceeding $5 an hour for long-standing employees, improved health care and protected pension benefits, as well as tightened public safety measures.
  • The move marks the most significant wage increase ever negotiated by the union for grocery workers.

What they're saying: "Getting here has been arduous," Local 7 president Kim Cordova said in a statement Monday night. "Full credit goes to the bargaining committee and workers who made their voices heard through negotiating, standing united at the picket line, or sharing their stories with the media."

Catch up quick: Unionized employees have demanded stringent public safety measures, better PPE, higher wages and more robust benefits from King Soopers parent company Kroger.

  • Negotiations deteriorated, and King Soopers issued a restraining order against the union for allegedly harassing and blocking customers from entering stores.

What's next: Unionized workers in Colorado Springs will vote on the agreement Wednesday. Union leaders expect members to approve the contract, too.

The big picture: As we previously reported, the contentious fight for labor rights is spreading to coffee shops, classrooms and even city hall. And the outcome of the latest King Soopers strike may spur even more workers to follow suit.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard. Subscribe here.


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