Since March, Colorado Springs and Boulder have experienced the third and fourth deadliest shootings in Colorado’s history. The shooting at a Colorado Springs birthday party last weekend and the Boulder King Soopers shooting in March have left our communities speechless and shattered.
In my nearly two decades of public service as El Paso County Commissioner and State Senator, I have seen community leaders time and time again come together despite their differences to unite after natural disasters and mass shootings.
Following the 2015 shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, I witnessed our community put their differences aside and come together for the good of those mourning. Whether you supported Planned Parenthood was irrelevant – everyone was a shoulder to lean on in the days and weeks after the shooting.
To my dismay, the one organization that many, including myself, expected to offer a similar outpouring of support following the Boulder shooting has instead exploited Colorado’s third deadliest shooting to score cheap political points.
UFCW Local 7, the union that represents nearly three-dozen workers at the affected Boulder King Soopers, has shamelessly allowed their president, Kim Cordova, to capitalize on this tragedy by comparing grocery workers going to work amid a pandemic with losing their life to an unhinged shooter.
While the families of the victims continue searching for answers, King Soopers’ parent company as well as other community organizations from across the country have been a beacon of support for those who were in the store during the shooting as well as for the victims’ families.
In contrast, Cordova chose to equate the fear of surviving a mass shooting to stocking grocery shelves during a pandemic. This is not just wrong, but downright disrespectful to the families and the victims who lost their lives on March 22.
Never in my career of public service have I seen someone who I had previously considered a dedicated member of our Colorado community so blatantly abuse a community in mourning.
Its times like these, communities are supposed come together and show what it looks like to conduct oneself with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, Ms. Cordova has shown us that she cares less about the victims in Boulder and more about elevating her political interests.
In the weeks and months following these tragic events, UFCW Local 7 should have wanted to provide resources and a support system for their members to make sure no one is left behind. I am sure that for many who were at the Boulder King Soopers in March, last weekend’s tragedy reopened raw wounds. Sadly, Kim Cordova’s leadership of UFCW Local 7 has been half-hearted at best when it came to supporting their members throughout these shootings.
In some cases, unions can be a strong voice for progress in a growing economy. However, by distracting from the real issues, Kim Cordova has done nothing to make her members better off. Put simply, UFCW Local 7 fails to prioritize their members here in Colorado – a disappointing reality that hopefully inspires more caring leaders to consider running for president of UFCW Local 7 in order to show Ms. Cordova the door.
Kim Cordova’s decision to prioritize her own self-interests ahead of the essential workers paying her salary is not the type of leadership our front-line workers deserve.
The members of UFCW Local 7 deserve support during these difficult times – something I believe only a new union president can offer. We cannot replace what has been lost in this tragedy, but we can ensure that those in positions of power walk the walk.
Senator Dennis Hisey represents Colorado State Senate District 2, which includes Clear Creek, Fremont, Park, and Teller Counties, and part of El Paso County.