UPDATE: 11/13/2020- A tentative agreement has been reached between Kroger and union members.
Union workers have said:
After members overwhelmingly voted to approve a strike last week, and intense negotiations this week, we have reached a tentative agreement that the bargaining advisory committee is unanimously recommending for ratification.
We stood strong and our solidarity won:
- Health care funding that experts say will fully fund our health care for the life of the contract
- Real raises for EVERYONE
- Premiums for ALL department heads
- No increase to prescription drug costs maximums + a new diabetes program to reduce drug costs
- New hours eligibility measurement period doesn’t start until after ratification
- All raises retroactive to November 1, 2020
This would not have happened without the unity, solidarity and strength of our members. When Kroger threatened to put our health care at risk, we stood strong and proved we were willing to fight for what we deserve. While no contract is perfect, our credible strike threat got us a fair agreement and we are ready to recommend it for ratification.
Next week, we will review this tentative agreement in detail over a Tele-Town Hall, followed by voting in stores throughout the region. We will announce details for both the Tele-Town Hall and voting schedule tomorrow, Saturday, November 14. Stay tuned for more.
UPDATE: Kroger releases statement on workers staging protests.
“The company and union have signed a contract extension through October 17 which gives the parties additional time to continue discussions. It’s our hope that we reach an agreement at the bargaining table that continues to reward and recognize Kroger Mid-Atlantic’s hard-working team of associates. We believe associates are entitled to good pay, affordable health care and a pension benefit when they retire. In fact, The Kroger Company is investing nearly $1 billion to secure a pension benefit for 33,000 Kroger associates, including many of our West Virginia associates. We value the work and contributions of every associate and will continue to have meaningful discussions that benefit all associates,” said Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger Mid-Atlantic.
CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – On Thursday, October 1 at 4:00 p.m., Kroger workers in West Virginia are staging car caravan protests<http://www.ufcw400.org/2020/09/25/oct-1-car-caravan-for-a-fair-contract-at-kroger/> in Charleston, Beckley and Parkersburg to call on the grocer to negotiate a fair union contract.
Protesters are meeting at each of the following locations at 4:00 p.m. to kickoff the caravans:
* Kroger #753, 930 Division St, Parkersburg, WV 26101
* Kroger #790, 133 Beckley Crossing Shopping Center, Beckley, WV 25801
* Kroger #772, 5717 MacCorkle Ave SE, Charleston, WV 25304
“With the pandemic continuing to take lives, we are holding socially distanced protests using car caravans to keep everyone safe,” explained UFCW Local 400 President Mark Federici.
Negotiations over a new union contract have been underway since August, but despite the support of federal mediators, the company is no closer to reaching a deal. The previous union contract expired on August 29 and is currently under extension until October 17. The union is advocating for better wages, healthcare and safe working conditions, including hazard pay for frontline associates continuing to work during the pandemic.
In August, UFCW confirmed<http://www.ufcw.org/press-releases/americas-largest-food-retail-union-calls-for-action-to-prioritize-safety-of-frontline-workers-essential-to-food-supply-chain-during-covid-19> there have been at least 103 grocery worker deaths and over 14,300 grocery workers infected or exposed to COVID-19. As a new investigation by Bloomberg<https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-08-27/covid-pandemic-u-s-businesses-issue-gag-rules-to-stop-workers-from-talking> recently reported, the actual national number of workers who have died, become sick, or been exposed, is likely much higher given that America’s largest food companies have launched an effort to hide the true human cost.