June 16, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Roanoke, VA – Workers at 41 Kroger supermarkets in the company’s Mid-Atlantic division ratified a new contract June 8, avoiding a strike they had authorized after rejecting a previous company offer in May.
The agreement with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 will give raises to 5,100 workers in the Appalachian Mountains regions of Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee, including courtesy clerks who now make minimum wage. It also gives workers four personal days off, and delays cuts to retirees’ health care until June 2017. Local 400’s bargaining team recommended ratification, saying the deal “contains improvements in all of the areas we fought for,” but also told workers that “it is not enough and it is far from what we deserve for our hard work.” “The important thing is that we wouldn’t have gotten this far and been able to get a contract if we hadn’t stood up to the previous offer, which was not good,” bargaining-team member Rick Howell told WSLS-TV in Roanoke. “We need to sign up more members. We need our members to be more active, and we need to let Kroger know in no uncertain terms that we will continue to fight for what we think we need.” Read more