King Soopers blames strike for Table Mesa reopening delay

BOULDER — The Table Mesa King Soopers location has been closed for nearly a year after a March 2021 mass shooting in the store that left 10 people dead, and it will remain closed for the foreseeable future. 

The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) grocery chain has decided to delay its previously announced Jan. 20 reopening, blaming the ongoing United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 strike in Boulder and other nearby communities. 

“This was a very difficult decision and after long consideration we have decided to pause for the right moment to come together and unite on this next chapter,” King Soopers president Joe Kelley said in a prepared statement Thursday. “We know this is a monumental milestone in our healing journey and that it must be free of distractions.” 

A new reopening date has not been announced.

King Soopers management is “heartbroken that we’ve had to make the difficult decision to delay the re-opening of our Table Mesa location as a result of the strike called by UFCW,” a company spokesperson told BizWest in an email, clarifying the direct link between the decision to delay reopening and the worker action. 

King Soopers and UFCW have been attempting to hammer out a new contract for weeks, but so far, Local 7’s demands for increased pay, better benefits, elimination of a two-tiered salary system, job outsourcing to non-union workers, and stronger health and safety protections in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic have not been met, the union said. 

“These people are loyal; they’re people, Colorado people,” King Soopers bakery manager Carol McMillian said of the strikers during a Thursday rally in Denver. “We’re a family. We’re not just some little widget you can kick to the side when you’re done using us up.”

King Soopers said on Tuesday that it had made what it calls it’s “last, best and final offer” to the union, which includes the “investment of $170 million over the next three years [that] includes wage investments plus ratification bonuses for all associates.” 

The company said it has “also proposed an additional investment in health care benefits that would result in zero impact to associates’ current health care premiums based upon the current projections — premiums that have not increased in 12 years if this agreement is ratified. This offer not only puts more money in associates’ pockets but, if accepted, promises to bring stability to our associates and Coloradans who have endured enough uncertainty and disruption.”

UFCW Local 7 rejected the offer, and on Thursday the union called King Soopers back to the negotiating table.

King Soopers said on Friday that it had resumed negotiations on Friday.

Company president Joe Kelley issued a statement Friday that said in part, “I will be attending negotiations today for our associates – to advocate for the union to put their members first and come to a timely resolution that ultimately provides our associates with increased wages, industry leading healthcare and a secure pension.” 

BOULDER — The Table Mesa King Soopers location has been closed for nearly a year after a March 2021 mass shooting in the store that left 10 people dead, and it will remain closed for the foreseeable future. 

The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) grocery chain has decided to delay its previously announced Jan. 20 reopening, blaming the ongoing United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 strike in Boulder and other nearby communities. 

“This was a very difficult decision and after long consideration we have decided to pause for the right moment to come together and unite on this next chapter,” King Soopers president Joe Kelley said in a prepared statement Thursday. “We know this is a monumental milestone in our healing journey and that it must be free of distractions.” 

A new reopening date has not been announced.

King Soopers management is “heartbroken that we’ve had to make the difficult decision to delay the re-opening of our Table Mesa location as a result of the strike called by UFCW,” a company spokesperson told BizWest in an email, clarifying the direct link between the decision to delay reopening and the worker action. 

King Soopers and UFCW have been attempting to hammer out a new contract for weeks, but so far, Local 7’s demands for increased pay, better benefits, elimination of a two-tiered salary system, job outsourcing to non-union workers, and stronger health and safety protections in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic have not been met, the union said. 

“These people are loyal; they’re people, Colorado…