Kroger Supermarket Workers Go on Strike in Denver

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About 8,400 unionized workers at Kroger’s King Soopers in Denver have left their jobs demanding better pay and benefits

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Kroger said Wednesday that its stores would remain open and that it was “reckless and selfish” to strike for the union. The supermarket operator said it had hired temporary workers to help staff the store and that employees from other parts of the country had traveled to fill it.

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Union officials representing Kroger workers declined to comment on Wednesday. They have previously said they want to secure a new contract with better pay, health and retirement benefits, and ensure a safer work environment for employees at a time when Kroger is making more profits. He said on Tuesday that going on strike after the company offered unsatisfactory offers during the last few months of talks was the only way to get fair terms.

Kroger has said it is committed to a settlement that will benefit workers and keep prices low for consumers.

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The Kroger strike comes as more workers demand better wages and benefits, demanding more benefits as labor shortages challenge industries across America.

About 1,400 Kellogg’s Co.

Workers recently ended a two-and-a-half-month strike by ratifying a new five-year contract. Activists of snack producer Mondelez International Inc.

And farm-equipment maker Deere & Co. has also gone on strike in recent months. starbucks Corporation

Baristas in Buffalo, NY voted to form the first labor union in the coffee giant’s 50-year history in December, while Amazon.com Inc. Of

Warehouse workers in Alabama are holding their second union election after voting against unionizing in 2021.

Many US grocers increased hourly wages for workers at the start of the pandemic, but phased out so-called hazard pay months later. The labor market has since tightened, the companies say, because unemployment checks and federal stimulus checks have made it harder for them to find workers. Retailers have offered overtime pay for workers who cover shifts, sick pay for employees who need to quarantine, and wage increases or referral bonuses to appeal potential hires. is done.

Workers and advocates have said supermarket workers deserve higher pay and more benefits because they are managing heavy workloads and stress while risking their health during the pandemic. Some employees are also tasked with managing anxious shoppers and explaining or enforcing their employer’s mask policies.

Tensions between Kroger and the union representing its Colorado employees have been rising in recent weeks as the two sides try to negotiate a new collective-bargaining agreement.

The union sued King Sopers in December, accusing the Kroger-owned supermarket chain of violating a collective bargaining agreement by using third-party staffing services to hire workers at the store And these workers were used to perform the roles covered by the union.

During negotiations between the union and the company, the employees of King Sopers voted to strike on January 2. The previous agreement expired on January 8 at 11:59 pm.

This week, King Sopers 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 meditation services, adding that the union had given no instructions to re-engage the discussion.

The company said Tuesday that it offered its “last, best and final” offer, which represents an investment of $170 million in higher salaries and expanded health benefits over the next three years.

The union rejected King Sopers’ offer on Tuesday, saying the company had not responded to its requests on pay, health and safety matters.

Write Jaewon Kang at [email protected]

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