King Soopers has delayed the reopening of its store on Table Mesa Drive, saying the reopening should be free of the distraction of the strike by its unionized workers.
The south Boulder store has been closed since March, when a gunman entered the store and killed 10 people. It was originally set to open Jan. 20, following months of construction. King Soopers representatives said a new reopening date is yet to be determined.
“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 stated in a news release. “We know this is a monumental milestone in our healing journey and that it must be free of distractions.”
The strike, organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, began at 5 a.m. Wednesday and could last for three weeks, according to a BizWest article. The union is fighting for increased pay, better health care options and more tools for on-the-job safety, workers said in a news conference. In the Boulder Valley, employees at stores in Boulder, Broomfield, Louisville and Westminster are striking.
In a statement on Tuesday, King Soopers said 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.”
“We are 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,” spokesperson Jessica Trowbridge said.
The union said in an update on Thursday that its picket lines will remain strong as negotiations are set to resume on Friday.
Ahead announcing the original Jan. 20 reopening date, King Soopers in November held hiring events to ensure the store will be sufficiently staffed when it opens. The grocery store has previously said about 50% of its employees who worked at the Table Mesa store at the time of the shooting intended to return to work there.
The store plans to release more information about the redesign and reopening soon. In previous interviews, King Soopers representatives have said the redesign will include changes to the interior and exterior of the building as well as a redesign of its parking lot. They accepted feedback on the redesign from Boulder employees and community members and said that it would be incorporated into the updated grocery store’s design. However, officials have yet to share specifics on how or whether that input was used.
Killed in the shooting were Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, 51; Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Teri Leiker, 51; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.