Update: Kroger employees voting on contract proposal
Company denies new contract would cut health benefits
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Workers at Kroger stores throughout the region, including Wood and Washington Counties, are voting on a contract offer from the company.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 claims the new pact would limit benefits as well as increase the cost of those benefits to workers, and possibly eliminate coverage to some of them.
A Kroger representative explained the offer today in a visit to Parkersburg, saying if a change does happen, it would not be at least until the contract’s second year.
“That cost increase would be through our trust, which includes an equal number of Kroger leadership and UFCW leadership," said Paula Ginnett, President of Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic region. "Associates would not have surprises where they suddenly would have a cost increase. There could be a cost increase the following year, but we don’t expect that to happen within this contract.”
The company adds the proposed contract also includes pay increases, including $4.65 an hour for some employees, as part of a scale where Ginnett says wages will grow at a faster rate, the largest pay investment, she says, in West Virginia in a decade.
UFCW Local 400 covers nearly 4,500 Kroger workers at 39 stores in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, including stores in Parkersburg, Belpre and Marietta.
A work stoppage by Kroger workers in the fall of 2003 shut down stores, with the exception of pharmacies, in the area for several weeks, at the start of the holiday season.
The vote on the contract continues through Friday.
Original story: October 8, 2020
Thursday afternoon, Kroger employees from the Mid-Ohio Valley gathered at the 7th Street Kroger in Parkersburg to protest, saying that Kroger refuses to meet some of their needs in their contract re-negotiation.
Their current contract with the company is set to expire in the coming weeks, and the employees were asking for higher wages and better benefits.
Kroger responded with the following statement:
“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 value the work and contributions of every associate and will continue to have meaningful discussions that benefit all associates.”
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