City Market employees vote to authorize strike

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) -- City Market and King Soopers employees voted to authorize a strike Friday night. In preparation of the possibility of the union acting on that ability, the stores are looking to hire temporary workers.

"We're at the last step, we call it a last and final, it's where we're coming to ends meet and we have to come to an agreement or decide what the next step is from there," Lonnie Thibodaux, a City Market employee, said.

Employees and the UFCW Local 7 say negotiations with the company have not been what they want. They say the pay isn't fair, there aren't enough full-time jobs available and they don't have the benefits they need.

"It's our rights and our benefits and wages that are in question, so we've got to make the hard decision to do it for what's right to ourselves," Thibodaux said.

City Market shoppers told us Friday that not being able to shop at City Market in Grand Junction would be a serious problem for them.

"I hope they don't go on strike," Tim Bizer, a regular City Market shopper, said. "This place is like the best store in town to go shopping at."

Even though Bizer says shopping elsewhere would be an inconvenience, he thinks employees are doing the right thing.

"The people there, they deserve to get paid more," he said. "They always have a smile on their face and they’re always there to find what we need and it would be good to see that they got paid right."

A spokesperson for City Market and King Soopers says they're hoping the strike doesn't come to fruition, but are preparing for the worst by filling some of those positions in advance of a possible strike.

They're hiring temporary workers for $15 an hour, more than employees currently make.

"That's because it is a temporary position that doesn't offer any benefits," Adam Williamson, a spokesperson for City Market, said.

City Market says they feel good with the current contract on the table.

"Everything with that contract is a benefit to the associates," Williamson said. "There's a wage increase offer in there, the healthcare that we have is in there, the pension that we offered is in there, it's all an increase to the associate, there's nothing being taken away from our associates."

Employees say it's not enough.

"Honestly it's probably leaning for a strike, it feels like the company has kinda come to a halt," Thibodaux said.

To see the listing for temporary positions check out the link to the right of this article.

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