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Colorado's largest grocery chain announces tentative agreement with union, ending 10-day strike

Posted at 12:29 PM, Jan 21, 2022

DENVER — King Soopers and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 (UFCW Local 7) both announced early Friday that they had reached a tentative agreement for the next three years, ending a strike that started Jan. 12.

The specifics have not been released yet regarding a potential change to pay or benefits. Member of UFCW Local 7, which represents Denver-area King Soopers workers, will vote on the contract on Jan. 24. Those final details will be available to the public after the vote.

The news came after 10 days of striking and several months of negotiations.

UFCW Local 7 said Friday it would end its strike immediately, adding that employees can return to their work as early as Friday. Workers on strike have up to seven days to return to their jobs.

In a press release, UFCW Local 7 said the tentative agreement "ensure(s) that workers are respected and protected in the workplace, and compensated with wages they deserve as essential workers."

King Soopers, which is owned by grocery giant Kroger, is Colorado's largest supermarket chain. About 8,000 workers at 78 stores in Denver, Boulder, Broomfield and Parker went on strike to protest what they said were unfair labor practices. In response, King Soopers maintained they've met the needs the union asked for, such as increased wages, better healthcare options and more tools for on-the-job safety.

"After months of negotiations and after our members walked out on strike, we have reached a tentative agreement with King Soopers/City Market that addresses the Company's unfair labor practices and ensures that our members will receive the respect, pay, and protection they warrant," Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7, said in a statement. "This fight will always be about the workers. I could not be prouder of our members who put it all on the line to have their voices heard. ... Now, our members have the contracts they deserve and can be proud of."

Joe Kelley, president of King Soopers and City Market, said the company is "pleased that this agreement allows us to put more money in our associates' paychecks and secures healthcare and pension plans."

Kelley said UFCW Local 7 will share the agreement's details with its members and will then vote.

This story was originally published by Stephanie Butzer on Scripps station KMGH in Denver.