Friday, 27 May 2022

King Soopers accuses striking workers of wrongdoing, seeks restraining order against union

Much of the action Tuesday between King Soopers and the union representing more than 8,000 employees on strike took place in court, where the grocery store chain filed a restraining order accusing union members of blocking customers’ access to stores, intimidating customers and about 12 pages of other allegations.

Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 across the Denver area walked the picket lines for a seventh day while union and King Soopers continued contract talks. The complaint filed Tuesday in Denver District Court claims striking workers have blocked access to King Soopers stores; told members of the public that the stores are closed when they’re not; and damaged or threatened to damage the property of the company, employees or stores’ landlords.

Kroger-owned King Soopers is seeking a temporary restraining order to immediately stop the alleged actions. The company asked the court to limit the number of picketers to five on the company’s property or on the perimeter.

Kim Cordova, union president, said in a statement that the allegations are unfounded.

“There are over 8,000 workers, as well as members of the public on our picket lines, and we continue to call on everyone involved not to allow these baseless allegations and bullying tactics to distract us from what is important,” Cordova said.

At the bargaining table, the union and King Soopers remained at loggerheads over safety issues, wages and outsourcing of jobs. The UFCW Local 7, which represents 17,000 grocery workers in Colorado and Wyoming, called a strike starting Jan. 12 at stores in Boulder, Parker and across the metro area.

King Soopers wants the union to allow members to vote on what the company called its “last, best” offer that includes $170 million for wage increases and health care benefits. The union bargaining committee rejected the proposal before the strike started.

Contracts with other King Soopers stores and City Market, also owned by Kroger, expire later in January and in February.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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