Kroger Houston Responds

News

March 5th, 2021

Positive Changes Taking Shape for Associates

We are proud of the Kroger family’s response to the latest challenges facing Texas and our communities right here in Houston. We know it hasn’t been easy, and we appreciate and recognize your commitment to serving our customers when they need us most.

In response to the historic winter storms in Texas:

  • Kroger has donated more than $800,000 in water and monetary donations to both Houston and Dallas operating areas.
  • The Kroger Co. Foundation donated $180,000 to the City of Houston Winter Storm Relief Fund and $190,000 to the Dallas Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund.
  • Houston and Dallas stores have also set up an opportunity for customers to donate to the American Red Cross, a major disaster relief partner of The Kroger Co. Foundation, which contributes $500,000 annually to the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program.
  • To date, the Kroger Helping Hands Fund has provided over $330,000 to more than 500 associates requesting emergency financial aid in the aftermath of the winter storm. If you need emergency financial aid, please see your HR manager or log into FEED and search for Helping Hands. You can now apply for assistance online and off the network!

Looking ahead, we are excited to see the positive changes we have been working on take shape, including wage increases, a stronger healthcare plan, and opportunities to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Your Safety

Despite the recent announcement ending Texas’ mask mandate, we will continue to require everyone in our stores in Texas and across the country to wear masks until all our frontline grocery associates can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

We are working tirelessly to ensure you and your colleagues on the frontlines are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. We continue to advocate to federal, state, and local officials to prioritize you and your co-workers for the vaccine rollout plan. As a reminder, Kroger is encouraging every associate to receive the vaccine, and offering a $100 one-time payment after receiving all the recommended doses of the vaccine.

A Pay Raise

As you know, all associates have received pay raises within the last six months. Top-rate associates and department heads received wage increases on October 4, 2020. Associates in wage progressions recently received increases ranging from $.40 to $2.00 per hour, depending on position. These wage increases went into effect on February 7 and were reflected in your February 18 paycheck.  Top-rate associates and department heads will receive their next increase effective on August 8, 2021.

Our average hourly wage in Houston is now more than $14.50 per hour; however that average hourly rate goes up to nearly $19 per hour when you factor in our comprehensive benefits, including the more than $102 million in health care and pension costs paid out by the division. As a reminder, these are benefits that many of our competitors don’t offer.

Better Healthcare

January 1, 2021 also brought about great improvements in the healthcare options available to you and your family. To date, more than 8,000 Houston associates and their families have their benefits provided through a Kroger health care plan.

This plan brings increased stability, security, and affordability to your healthcare coverage – a stark contrast to the unanticipated benefit reductions that occurred under your old healthcare administered by the South-Central Health and Welfare Trust Fund.

We fought hard to ensure that an Anthem – Blue Cross Blue Shield plan offered on behalf of Kroger provides you with solid, affordable health care coverage in 2021 and beyond. We hope you are seeing all the great benefits and perks of having a company plan.

Strong Retirement

In 2020, Kroger committed nearly $1 billion to secure pensions for tens of thousands of our associates across the country, including many here in Houston.

Negotiations Update

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been having conversations with UFCW Local 455 in order to try and reach an overall agreement. Your union still continues to press for a health and welfare trust fund to administer your benefits.

We continue to remain firm that the company plan you are currently enrolled in is the best option for Houston associates. We have communicated to your union that for the company to consider any other option, the union’s proposal must meet or beat the benefits offered through the company plan.

We are meeting with Local 455 and other UFCW locals on Tuesday, March 9 to further discuss options on health care. We will update you on these discussions next week.

Thank you for all that you do to serve our customers, communities, and each other. Be safe and well!

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