Kroger, Workers Union Ink New Deal
By Mike Perleberg
(Cincinnati, Oh.) – Kroger workers in the tri-state are now working under a new, long-term labor contract.
United Food Workers Local 75 has ratified a new agreement with the grocery store chain, both sides announced Wednesday. The union had been operating under a series of short-term extensions since the last agreement ended in October 2013.
The contract gives many Kroger employees the same healthcare coverage as the previous agreement. Last year, Kroger ceased offering health insurance coverage for spouses of about 1,700 employees in Indiana excluding southeast Indiana stores.
Other points of the new contract will provide wage increases and wage parity, which have been adjusted to reflect an increasing minimum wage. Pension benefits are also guaranteed until 2021.
UFCW Local 75 includes about 17,700 Kroger employees: 12,766 associates working in 76 stores in the Cincinnati area and 4,945 associates working in 32 stores in Dayton. Whereas Cincinnati and Dayton union members were under separate labor agreements, they are both covered under the new accord.
“We are pleased to reach an agreement that is good for our associates. This agreement provides wage increases, affordable health care and investment in our associates’ pension fund to support their retirement,” Sukanya Madlinger, president of Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton Division, said in a news release. “This agreement comes after thoughtful and productive work by both the company and union bargaining committees. I want to thank our associates for supporting this agreement and for the excellent service they provide to our customers every day.”