A recent announcement made from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 may spell some trouble for Kroger. The union, which represents roughly 12,200 King Soopers and City Market stores—both Kroger-owned—declared that it will be ending a contract extension with the grocer. According to the Washington Times, ending the contract extension does not necessarily mean a strike is imminent, but if negotiations continue to play out the way they have been, a strike does seem to be the more likely route.
“On the eighth day of negotiations (February 25), more than 150 members showed up to bargaining! King Soopers, after making workers wait for over three hours after the appointed time, made its first comprehensive series of proposals for your next contract (including wages and benefits),” the union’s most recent negotiation update stated.
According to a press release, the withdrawal went into effect on Monday, February 25, and will affect around 109 King Soopers and City Market stores throughout Colorado. The union has been bargaining with the stores since mid-December. Current collective bargaining agreements started to expire on January 12 but were extended by mutual agreement. Any good will that may have been built up was quickly dashed during continuing negotiations.
The union’s negotiation update stated it took major issues with the company’s Comprehensive Economic Proposal and non-economic proposals, which the union described as “insulting” and an attempt to “slash benefits and union protections.
The company’s Comprehensive Economic Proposal would allegedly include:
“The bargaining parties have made little progress in the negotiations, and remain far apart on a wide variety of critical issues, including but not limited to, two-tier benefit discrimination, workplace safety, overtime protections, benefits for victims of domestic abuse, experience credit for all members of America’s armed forces, and whether sick grocery workers should nonetheless be compelled to work,” stated the press release.
Will negotiations resume, and will both sides ever reach a consensus? Deli Market News will keep you in the loop on the updates.