COLORADO SPRINGS — UFCW has announced its strike date is set for Wednesday, January 12, at 5 a.m. and employees are gearing up, saying that it has been a long time coming.

“We’re actually one of the lowest paid employees in the state – or so I hear. And that’s the main concern just that safety, that worker’s comp and pay rate is our biggest issues here,” said Tanner, a King Soopers employee.

UFCW working towards the strike on the 12th of January. Credit: File

Employees like Tanner are saying their pay rate can’t compete with Colorado Springs’ increasing cost of living.

“A lot of people in the country right now are getting paid 16, 17, 18-dollars an hour [at] fast food restaurants and we’re providing food for people so that they can stay alive and be healthy and we’re getting paid minimum wage,” Tanner said.

UFCW has been negotiating with King Soopers for some time, and earlier in the week King Soopers offered wage investments and signing bonuses of 148 million dollars which would include a wage increase of 4.50 an hour in the first year of employment and a starting wage of 16 dollars an hour. This proposal was rejected by UFCW.

Early on Saturday, King Soopers issued a letter to UFCW asking the union to meet with them to find a way to establish labor peace.

“No one wins in a strike,” said Jessica Trowbridge, King Soopers Corporate Affairs Manager. “We care deeply about our associates and a work stoppage really creates a troubling position that often leads to financial hardship for our associates. Our associates truly would be better served if Local 7 would work with us and reach an agreement that doesn’t leave our associates without a paycheck.”

King Soopers said UFCW hasn’t responded yet to their inquiry as of Saturday night.

So, both employees and King Soopers will be anticipating picketing lines outside of King Soopers grocery stores, specifically around Denver, Boulder, Broomfield, Parker and Colorado Springs.

“We as workers need to feel appreciated and here we don’t feel appreciated so going on strike is our way of saying we’re not okay with what’s happening and we won’t change,” Tanner said.

The union says they plan on striking for 3 weeks until February 2, 2022.