DENVER (KDVR) – Shoppers can expect some major changes and disruptions on Wednesday and possibly over the next few weeks. Thousands of King Soopers workers are expected to strike in the streets, and shoppers are worried about what this means for them.
FOX31 investigators visited stores Tuesday night, and it was business as usual as customers filled up with groceries in hopes of avoiding the fallout from Wednesday’s pending strike.
Ryan Fitzgerald says he often trades at King Soopers on Quebec Street.
“That would be a big impact for us,” Fitzgerald said. “This has always been our store. There are employees who have been here all along, as we know by name, and that would hurt us.”
Fitzgerald refers to the pain that would come if his local grocery store closed its doors. King Sooper’s president, Joe Kelley, explained that store closures across the Denver subway are a real possibility because of the strike.
The union’s contract expired over the weekend. On Tuesday morning, King Soopers made a final effort with a new contract proposal that included wage increases of up to $ 4.50 per hour, depending on job classification and employment conditions. It also included $ 2,000 or $ 4,000 ratification bonuses. King Soopers says a full-time checker with five years’ experience would earn $ 47,000 annually under the proposal.
But late Tuesday afternoon, the union rejected the proposal as its leaders were upset by pay and the company’s use of non-union workers.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union President Kim Cordova took to social media to explain the decision to call the proposal “unacceptable” and “insulting”, meaning workers will go on strike. Local customers are concerned that store shelves may become empty during the ongoing pandemic.
“Many of the checkout counters do not have anyone to check people out,” said one shopper. “The store shelves are already empty all the time.”
FOX31 looked at store shelves on Tuesday and some were just while others were in stock. Kelley says a lack of pandemic staff combined with a lack of strikes will affect what shoppers see in their local stores. They are advised to be prepared for long queues and fewer items on the shelves.
UFCW representatives told FOX31 that pharmacists and pharmacy assistants are not represented under their union. Customers should be able to pick up their prescriptions as usual so far, but be prepared for disturbances outside the store.
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