Workers at the four King Soopers stores in Westminster and Thornton joined 77 other locations protesting the labor practices of the grocery chain.
“I started working (at King Soopers) in 1987 and it was a good working-class job,” said Kip Keith, a 34-year employee protesting outside the 10351 N. Federal King Soopers. “Now Kroger doesn’t care about its workforce.”
King Soopers’ employees across the Denver metropolitan area are protesting unfair labor practices and seeking better wages and work conditions. Workers began striking on Wednesday at 5 a.m.
From a flier, a few of the proposals the workers are protesting are the ability to reduce wages and other benefits at any time, insufficient contributions to their health fund and proposals designed to silence the voice of workers by crippling the Union.
Brandon Golston, an assistant deli manager and five-year employee, said that the store does not honor senior members by hiring gig workers and not giving senior staff substantial raises.
“It just doesn’t seem fair, you know, especially considering that they have hit record profits and we’re in the midst of a pandemic right now. They canceled our hazard pay when a lot of other companies kept that hazard pay,” said Golston.
Golston makes $20.56 per hour and said the company only offered him a $1 wage increase. He points to working through the pandemic and his five years of service as reasons he deserves a higher wage.
For others, it’s not just wages but security. Victoria Hodge a 21-year deli clerk at the Thornton King Soopers, said the store has been robbed by gunpoint twice and the security has not been updated.
“We have a worker that’s traumatized, gun to her head,” she said. “It’s not a safe working environment.”
Stores remain open, but shoppers must cross the picket lines. To those customers, Lori Thomson, a 26-year employee and resident of Thornton, asks for empathy.
“Some of them do not understand the cause and to find out what the cause is, if it matters to them, because no one knows when they could be in this circumstance at any point in their life with any job they choose to have in the future,” she said. “We are fighting for a cause. We’re not out here just because we want to get out of work.”
“I love my job, we just need better working conditions,” said Hodge.