DENVER — Nearly 12,000 King Soopers union workers could be just days away from going on strike.
They voted for the strike Friday night after nearly three months of negotiations with the grocery store.
Workers want better pay and benefits. King Soopers said the latest contract offer fulfills those demands.
Employees had their second and final day of voting on a strike Friday. Leaders with their union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, spent the night counting all the votes.
The vote for a strike does not guarantee one. Union leaders would still have to call for the strike. That could happen at any time.
Currently, the union and King Soopers don’t have any more negotiating sessions planned.
“Feed the human spirit and start feeding your employees, because they make the difference,” Tyson Kehm told FOX31. He’s a meat manager and has worked at King Soopers for eight years.
Meanwhile, King Soopers maintains the latest contract offer would give many employees raises of more than $2,000 in the next three years and does not increase healthcare costs.
The company also has 1,000 openings that could allow employees to grow.
“We do make the difference,” Kehm said. “If they (customers) see us striking, they’ll honor that. I truly believe that.”
Kehm and other employees said customers who cross picket lines could expect a little chaos inside. They said there would be fewer workers and, potentially, empty shelves.
King Soopers said it’s trying to mitigate any effects a strike might have on customers.
The company is now advertising to hire temporary workers to be prepared.
“It’s business as usual this weekend,” King Soopers spokesman Adam Williamson said. “That’s the last resort, no one wins in a strike. So, we want to make sure we prepare in that worst-case scenario.”
Williamson sent FOX31 and Channel 2 the following statement after the vote:
“We proposed a good contract for our associates. Our goals, always, are to reach an agreement that provides a solid and competitive package of wages, benefits and a stable pension plan. At this point, the union has not called for a work stoppage. We hope they don’t and are looking forward to continuing negotiations. Right now it’s business as usual at our stores.”