Company Moves Forward with Wage Increases and Health Care in Company-Administered Plan

Lake Charles

October 19th, 2021

Kroger and UFCW Local 455 began bargaining your Lake Charles, Sulphur, and Alexandria Retail and Meat contracts in May. As you know last week, we attempted once again to reach an agreement with the union on a new contract for you. We shared our Last, Best, and Final Offer with the union on September 17 and, despite our best efforts, we are no closer to reaching an agreement with Local 455.

At issue is the Company’s proposal to move your health care benefits into a company-administered health care plan. Local 455 continues to focus on keeping your health care benefits tied to the South-Central Fund or another Taft Hartley Fund rather than trying to reach an overall agreement. Unfortunately, we continue to remain deadlocked on health care.

We have been open and transparent with you throughout the negotiations process. We have heard that many of you are frustrated and just want this process to be over. We believe you are long overdue for wage increases and the assurance that your health care benefits will be reliable and stable in 2022 and for years to come.

What does all of this mean for you?

On Monday, October 18, we informed the union that, based on a bargaining impasse – deadlock, we are moving forward with implementing our Last, Best, and Final Offer, including wage increases, health care, and other language items.

Wage Increases

Under the terms of our Last, Best, and Final Offer, we will implement a three-step wage progression that rewards and recognizes all associates with more pay.

  • Associates will receive up to $2.60 more per hour, depending on role and classification
  • Part-time and full-time clerks will also move into the same wage progression
  • Increases will be reflected in paychecks beginning November 11, 2021
  • Retro pay: Current associates will receive retro pay for hours worked from July 11 to October 30, 2021. Retro payments will be reflected with your November 18, 2021 paycheck.
  • Department Heads – will receive up to $2.00 more an hour in the first year, depending on store sales volume
  • Red-Circled, Full-time Clerks – will receive up to $1.30 more per hour in the first year
  • Courtesy Clerks – will receive a $1.25 increase per hour in the first year
  • Head Meat Cutter – will receive up to $1.50 increase per hour in the first year, depending on store sales volume
  • Journeyman Meat Cutter – will receive up to $1.30 increase per hour in the first year
  • Full-time and Part-time Pharmacy Technicians – will receive up to $3.50 increase per hour in the first year
  • Full-time and Part-time Night Stockers – will receive up to $2.60 increase per hour in the first year
  • Premium Increases – Up to $1.50 increase per hour for Regularly Scheduled Night Crew, Assistant Department Heads, Back Door Receiving, Dairy Leads, E-Commerce Leads, and Floral Leads

Health Care

  • Your health care benefits will transition to a company-administered plan on January 1, 2022, – all as outlined in our Last, Best, and Final Offer. Remember your co-workers in Houston are now enrolled in and enjoying the company-administered plan.
  • Open enrollment for 2022 coverage in the company-administered plan is November 1-19. You must enroll for benefits in the company plan if you intend to have health care coverage in 2022.
  • You will be receiving more information from Kroger about your 2022 health care benefits and open enrollment in the coming days and weeks.
  • Your store leader has more information on your 2022 health care benefits as outlined in our LBFO or you can go here (clerks) or here (meat clerks) to download and review.
  • You may receive information from the South-Central Fund or ACS, the plan’s administrator, about open enrollment. As a reminder, your 2022 benefits will no longer be provided by the South-Central Fund or administered by ACS.

Additional Items

We will also be implementing the following language items:

  • Personal Holidays: Part-time associates will accumulate personal holidays more quickly
  • Minimum Hours Guarantee: Increases the minimum hours’ guarantee to 20 hours for clerks and meat clerks
  • Ability to Maximize Hours: Allows associates to assist in other departments and potentially earn additional hours while learning more aspects of the business
  • Vacation for Part-time Associates: Beginning January 2, 2022, part-time associates will have the ability to accrue a maximum of three weeks’ vacation
  • Vacation Payout for Deceased Associate: If an associate passes away before taking their earned vacation, their estate will be paid their vacation pay

We hope you’ll agree that these changes – improving your wages; moving to a secure, reliable, and affordable health care plan; and the other items noted – are great news for you and your family!

As always, we encourage you to talk to your store leader about any questions you may have about what this means for you. You can also go to these links to download and review our entire Last, Best, and Final Offer for Clerks and Meat associates.

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