When Mike Lintz saw no picketers outside her King Soopers on Krameria Street in Montclair Friday morning, she knew for sure the 10-day strike was over.
Lintz said she has shopped with the grocer for about 40 years but stopped when members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 went on strike last week.
“I’ve shopped here for so many years,” Lintz said. “I’ve shopped in this building before this building was here. People are nice and you get to know them and you have to respect them. I tried Safeway, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but as soon as I heard it was over I said, ‘OK, I’m going shopping.'”
UFCW7, the union representing thousands of King Soopers workers, announced earlier in the day that it reached a tentative three-year deal with the company. Workers could begin returning to work immediately.
Marquis Price also stopped shopping at the grocer while workers were on strike. She said she has friends who work for Kroger, King Soopers’ parent company, and was glad to hear it came to an end.
“I’m wishing the best for everyone that works for Kroger,” Price said. “When I got out of college in the seventies, Kroger was Kroger and they haven’t seemed to grow. Their pockets have and their employees have been here and gone through hell. It’s the right thing to do across the board and across the country.”
Details about what’s in the proposed contract were not immediately made public, but Price hopes workers received what they asked for, which included better pay, security and workplace safety policies after working through the pandemic.
Ashley Moreland agreed. Moreland is a frequent shopper at the South Hampden King Soopers. She said she didn’t stop shopping at the grocer during the strike because the store is close to her house. But she was glad to hear that the strike was over.
“I hope they get what they’re looking for and I hope King Soopers listens,” Moreland said. “[The picketers] were pretty nice. They weren’t aggressive at all and just asked nicely if I could shop somewhere else. So, hopefully King Soopers will start treating their workers better.”
Safia Fadul also didn’t stop shopping at the grocer during the strike. She said the Hampden store is convenient and she knew workers would get what they wanted in the end.
“Everyone here is very nice and very professional,” Fadul said. “We love King Soopers. We shop here about every two weeks. I believed it would get done, so I’m glad they listened to the workers.”
Earlier this week, King Soopers’ parking lots were a ghost town while other grocers, like Safeway were packed with bare shelves.
But today, King Soopers’ parking lots were full of cars instead of demonstrators.
Kim Cordova, the president of UFCW Local 7, said in a statement that “This fight will always be about the workers. I could not be prouder of our members who put it all on the line to have their voices heard.”
In a separate statement, King Soopers and City Market president Joe Kelley said “We are pleased that this agreement allows us to put more money in our associates’ paychecks and secures healthcare and pension plans. We look forward to welcoming back our associates and customers.”
The union could ratify the agreement next Monday.