What exactly is the ‘living wage’ that King Soopers workers are striking for?

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s high cost of living is indeed a struggle for low-wage workers.

The union representing King Soopers employees in and around Denver and Colorado Springs has voted to strike starting Jan. 12. The union denounces unfair labor practices and wages below those necessary to live in Colorado.

By one metric, low-wage workers earn less than the minimum to survive in one of the most expensive places in the country.

The “standard of living” is a tool used to calculate how much a worker needs to earn to meet basic needs without going into debt. It’s well below a comfortable middle-class existence, but it’s above the federal poverty level, which only takes into account basics like food and shelter, but not broadband, childcare, and more. children or the costs of civic engagement.

A living wage is the minimum income necessary for a person to meet their basic needs.

Colorado’s statewide minimum wage pays about $10,000 less per year than the living wage needed for a single adult without children to meet basic needs, according to a published current living wage database. by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

UFCW Local 7 president Kim Cordova wrote in a letter last October that she wanted King Soopers to pay all Colorado employees Denver’s minimum wage of $15.87 instead of the wage rate. state minimum of $12.56. In response, King Soopers management said the associated average salary was $18.29, which would cover the living wage of an adult with no children.

Labor negotiations are inflamed by the stratospheric jumps in the cost of living in Colorado and Denver over the past decade.

According to MIT, Colorado has the eighth highest living wage in the country. This makes it the most expensive state in the interior of the United States, and even more expensive than several coastal states, including Washington.

The Denver-Lakewood-Aurora Metropolitan Statistical Area leads the ranking of the nation’s most expensive cities.

Among the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, it ranks 13th for living wages.

Michael A. Bynum