Thousands of employees at Kroger began a strike in Denver recently to demand higher wages, additional benefits, and safer workplaces.
“About 8,400 unionized workers at Kroger’s King Soopers stores in Denver walked off the job at 7 a.m. ET on Wednesday, according to Kroger and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, which represents King Sooper workers in Colorado,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
The strike is affecting 77 of 151 King Soopers stores, according to a company spokesperson.
Kroger explained Wednesday its stores would stay open and it was “reckless and self-serving” for the union to make the decision to strike.
The supermarket operator added it hired temporary employees to staff locations and workers from different areas of the country traveled to help.
A recent study indicated over three-quarters of Kroger employees surveyed in several states were “food insecure,” NBC News reported Thursday:
However, Kroger deemed the report “misleading” and issued its own research showing the company, on average, paid hourly employees more than its peers.
Video footage showed the strikers outside a King Soopers location:
Union leaders representing Kroger employees declined to comment recently but previously said they wanted an updated contract with better wages, health and retirement benefits, and a safer work environment, the Journal report continued:
They said Tuesday that going on strike was the only way to get fairer terms after the company had offered unsatisfactory proposals throughout the past few months of negotiations. Kroger has said it remains committed to settling an agreement that will benefit workers and keep prices down for consumers.
This week, King Soopers filed unfair labor practices charges against the union for refusing to bargain in good faith. The company said union leaders refused repeated requests to return to the negotiating table and rejected mediation services, adding that the union had given no indication of when it would re-engage in discussions.
“The company said Tuesday that it offered its ‘last, best and final’ offer, representing an investment of $170 million over the next three years in higher wages and expanded healthcare benefits,” the article read.
About 8,400 King Soopers employees at 78 stores started their strike at 5am after the union failed to reach a deal with the company.
They’re demanding better safety precautions, higher wages & affordable healthcare.
— Shawna Khalafi (@ShawnaKhalafiTV) January 12, 2022
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the union refused King Sooper’s offer, asserting the company did not respond to its requests regarding wage, health, and safety issues.