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Colorado Springs King Soopers workers respond to strikes in Denver

Colorado Springs King Soopers workers respond to strikes in Denver
Posted at 7:13 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 08:10:59-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Unionized King Soopers workers in Denver went on strike starting at 5 a.m. today. For now, Colorado Springs workers are not on strike, but that could change if an agreement is not made in Denver.

Several employees from Colorado Springs stores said they support the strikes happening up north, and if it comes down to it, they're ready to strike too.

"There's always a possibility. We put out a vote and asked, are you willing or not willing to go on strike for these reasons? And it was a resounding, 'yes we will,'" said Bill Valdez, who's worked at King Soopers for 15 years and is a meat market manager at one of the locations.

Liz Wesley is an employee at another Colorado Springs location, who's worked at King Soopers for 17 years.

"We can be ready in Colorado Springs at a moment's notice. We have strike authorization in Colorado Springs," said Wesley, a floral manager at one of the stores. "It is very important to what happens in Denver. It will absolutely affect the workers in Colorado Springs."

Today Wesley was on union leave and made the trip to Denver to strike alongside a dozen others.

"Me and the other store employees are picketing in front of store #110 in Denver and we are picketing for unfair labor practices. These employees want fair wages. They've worked through this pandemic. They've been there for their communities," said Wesley.

She says local workers are supportive of the strikes in the Denver area, and if her union leadership decides it's necessary to strike at Colorado Springs stores, then it will happen.

Staff across the Denver Metro area are on strike because of what they call "unfair labor practices. Many employees local to Colorado Springs like Valdez agree.

"The wages have to keep up with inflation. Inflation is out of control. The pandemic is out of control. Everything is just snowballing to this massive happening," said Valdez.

Today, King Soopers and City Market called the decision by UFCW Local 7 to strike, "reckless and self-serving."

In a statement, Joe Kelley, the president and CEO of King Soopers and City Market said: "Local 7 is putting politics before people and preventing us from putting more money in our associates’ pockets. Creating more disruption for our associates, their families, and Coloradans rather than negotiating for a peaceful resolution is irresponsible and undemocratic."

Colorado Springs stores do have the authorization to strike. News5 asked employees when that could happen, but that could not be answered at this time.