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PHOTOS: King Soopers workers strike for higher wages

With no movement on a new contract, King Soopers employees who are part of UFCW Local 7 rallied together with support from local officials.

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As the King Soopers strike enters day three at 77 Denver-area grocery stores, negotiations appear no closer to a new contract. But United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 members remain spirited and rallied Thursday across the street from the Glendale store. Striking workers and union leaders asked the grocer to get its local leaders to meet at the table with a better offer deserving of essential workers. 

King Soopers has offered $170 million in increased wages, which amounts to about $1 an hour more for the next three years for a checker with five years of experience. That would put that checker above $20 an hour and to $22.61 by 2024. But employees say that is still not a livable wage, especially in Denver.

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“All we are asking for is fair pay, affordable health care and a safe workplace. C’mon King Soopers,” said Carol McMillian, an employee in Aurora, to much cheering.

After hearing from other guests, including Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young and Tay Anderson, Denver Board of Education vice president, the crowd crossed the street to march around the store’s parking lot.

▶︎ See all of our King Soopers strike coverage here.

Employees and supporters gather at a King Soopers on Thursday in Glendale. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)
Justin Presser, a King Soopers employee since 2006, strikes on Wednesday in Denver. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)
Arthur Collins (right), who started work at King Soopers in April 2020, strikes on Wednesday in Denver. Thousands of workers are expected to participate in a three-week strike at King Soopers, though more may be joining as other union contracts expire until February 2022. King Soopers on Tuesday upped its offer to invest $170 million over three years in wages and bonuses, an offer that was 17% higher than two weeks ago. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)
Employees and supporters gather at a King Soopers on Thursday in Glendale. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)
Yonas Berk, a King Soopers employee for nearly five years, strikes on Wednesday in Denver. “Basically, we’re saying better pay, better benefits. That’s what we’re here for. We’re not against the company,” Berk said. “We love the company and we support our families from there. We want to company to exist — we depend on it. We just want better pay.” (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)
Debbie Espinoza and Steve Abeyta, employees at King Soopers for 50 and 39 years respectively, strike on Wednesday in Denver. Abeyta has taken part in two previous King Soopers strikes since 1987. “My youngest daughter, who’s 26 now, took her first steps here out on the picket line,” Abeyta said. “This time, it’s way more support … In ’96, people spit on us, somebody got run over at the Safeway on 13th and Federal. Two people died. But the reason they’re getting the respect this time is because of COVID.” (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)
Employees and supporters walk down Leetsdale Dr. on Thursday in Glendale. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)
Married coworkers Robert and Tina Ferry said they’d feel safer at their King Soopers store in Aurora if the company would hire an off-duty police officer. The store has a contract security guard who was attacked two weeks ago by an unruly customer, and the store had to call the police. (Tamara Chuang, The Colorado Sun)
Employees and supporters gather at a King Soopers on Thursday in Glendale. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)
Thousands of workers are expected to participate in a three-week strike at King Soopers, though more may be joining as other union contracts expire until February 2022. King Soopers on Tuesday upped its offer to invest $170 million over three years in wages and bonuses, an offer that was 17% higher than two weeks ago. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)