Lawsuit Filed To Stop Union ‘Blitzing’

DENVER — Just as voting is set to begin on a new union contract, King Soopers is accusing union representatives of disrupting business and intimidating workers by sending groups of union representatives into stores to talk to workers.

In a complaint filed in federal court this week, the supermarket chain claims the union is sending groups of representatives, many of them dressed in black union t-shirts, into stores to talk to workers on the job and hand out union fliers and buttons, a practice the company said is known as “blitzing.” King Soopers asked a federal judge to step in and stop the practice both for the current round of talks and in the future.

U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn said Friday he would consider the issue during a hearing next Thursday, two days after workers finish voting on the contract. That leaves the union free to keep talking to workers ahead of the vote. Denver area workers are set to vote Monday and Colorado Springs workers will vote Tuesday.

In previous negotiations, Mulligan said union representatives have checked in with store managers and waited to talk to employees on their breaks in the employee lounge. “Union representatives, who are often fellow employees, have a contractual obligation to talk to grocery workers, and we have not had any problems with Safeway and Albertson’s,” union lawyer Crisanta Duran said.

 Lawyers for King Soopers said the aim of blitzing is to disrupt business and intimidate workers and customers.

“While at the facility, defendants have hindered and disrupted operations, threatened, intimidated and coerced employees and staff and the public, and acted in ways that are not peaceful. Defendants interrupt employees who are working, go into non-public areas and pass out union fliers and pins,” lawyers said in the complaint.