February 17, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Shreveport, LA – United Food and Commercial Workers members at Kroger supermarkets in Houston, Louisiana, and East Texas have voted to authorize a strike if the company doesn’t increase payments to its health-care fund.
UFCW Local 455, which represents workers at Kroger stores in the area, said the chain had agreed to make additional contributions to the fund to cover costs incurred under the Affordable Care Act, but balked when the union informed it that the shortfall was $13 million. “We will be sending a message to the company that the employees want us to get back to the table and work out a settlement that will cover their health and welfare,” said Local 455 secretary/treasurer Rick Alleman. Kroger employees in Palestine, Texas, voted unanimously to OK a strike Feb. 8, as did 95% in Shreveport. UFCW members in Lake Charles and Alexandria are expected to vote this week. The issue affects 15,000 to 20,000 workers, Alleman said. Read more