Kroger Houston and UFCW Local 455 met again this week to continue discussions. The union once again proposed a health care plan that essentially is the South-Central fund in disguise. This is the third meeting with the union since the first of the year and they continue to drag out negotiations with health care proposals that don’t meet or beat what associates now have in the company plan.
- Local 455 wants Kroger to agree to move associates out of the company plan and back into a health and welfare trust fund that provides less stable and secure coverage while paying more on a weekly basis.
- Moving associates to the union’s proposed plan would mean that a large group of associates currently enrolled in the company plan would have reduced benefits.
- None of this makes logical sense.
We have heard that you are frustrated with how long negotiations are taking, and you just want a new contract. We want that too. However, your union continues to propose health care benefits that don’t include a secure and stable company plan. We firmly believe a company plan, which nearly 8,000 associates are already participating in, is the best and only solution and the way forward in getting a new contract.
We want to reach a new agreement. This stalemate is not good for anyone. We encourage you to ask Local 455 to drop their health care proposal to keep benefits in a health and welfare trust fund and move forward with bargaining other items of your contract so that we can reach an agreement.
What has happened up until now?
As you know, we have put our Last, Best and Final Offer with ratification bonuses on the table multiple times. It’s unfortunate that your union hasn’t provided you the opportunity to vote and ratify a new agreement so you could take advantage of those bonuses.
Since implementing our Last, Best and Final Offer, you have seen some positive changes:
- Many associates received wage increases in October 2020
- Health care through a company-administered plan, beginning January 1, 2021
- Minimum hours increased from 15 hours to 18 hours per week
- Personal holidays accumulate more quickly – on January 1, 2021, nearly 5,700 associates gained an additional personal holiday
Wage increases coming soon!
- As a reminder, effective for hours worked beginning February 7, 2021, associates in progressions will receive a pay increase, ranging from $.40 to $2.00, depending on position.
- Wage increases will be reflected in your February 18, 2021 paycheck.
- Department Heads and Top-Rate associates – who received increases in October 2020 – will receive increases effective August 8, 2021.