More than 8,000 workers at Kroger-owned King Soopers and City Market stores are on strike in Colorado. Their fight highlights the company’s long history of atrocious treatment of its workforce.

By Alex N. Press, Jacobin

On Wednesday, January 12, more than eight thousand workers at around eighty King Soopers and City Market grocery stores in Colorado went on strike after declining what the stores’ parent company, Kroger, called its “last, best, and final offer” on Tuesday. The workers, who are members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7, had voted nearly unanimously to authorize the strike earlier this month.

The King Soopers contract expired on January 8, and workers say the company — which is owned by Kroger, the country’s largest grocery chain and fourth largest private employer — has been dragging its feet at the bargaining table. Distance remains between the two sides on issues of pay, health care benefits, and worker safety — in the sense of COVID precautions as well as protections from customers; in 2021, there was a mass shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder, and workers say people regularly threaten to shoot up stores. But the union says workers are now striking over the company’s unfair labor practices (ULP).

Scabby the inflatable rat menaces the Kroger logo against a black and green background
Photo by Verbunkos

“For months, we’ve requested critical and necessary information such as work hours and sales in order for us to evaluate and cost out proposals, and the company has failed and refused to provide that information,” says Kim Cordova, president of the seventeen thousand–member UFCW Local 7. She says additional unfair practices by the company include sending out texts to workers that contain partial or different information than that which is presented at the bargaining table, as well as threatening to discipline or actually disciplining workers for wearing union apparel on the job. Kroger has in turn charged the UFCW with unfair labor practices.

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