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Kroger Workers Agree to New Contract

A sign displays gasoline prices near the fuel center at the Kroger on Mount de Chantal Road in Wheeling. Photo by Alan Olson

Workers at the 10 Upper Ohio Valley Kroger stores have a new, three-year contract.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776KS President Wendell Young said the new agreement garnered 55% of the vote.

“(That percentage) is not decisive in a huge way in either direction,” he said. “It just shows how the workers are really split on this. The important thing for us and the company … is to figure how to work together here and not divide, to not create fractures. There’s some work ahead, not just for the union, but the company needs to step up and do some work to improve conditions, too.”

The new contract takes effect immediately, though some provisions, like wage increases, are retroactive to the expiration of the old contract.

“It has wage increases for everyone, it also secures the current benefit package for the duration of the contract,” Young said.

“There’s no increased cost-sharing, and more ongoing and significant investment in pension plans to ensure they remain secure.”

Young admits it was a difficult decision for his members.

“While there are good things here, we just don’t think the company went far enough,” he said.

“That’s exactly what the members will tell you, Kroger could have done better. It was a really hard decision for people. While there are some really good benefits, these are tough times, the cost of living really hit people hard, working through a pandemic there were a lot of tensions and frustrations … they look at the company and say they could have done better.”

About 1,200 Upper Ohio Valley UFCW Local 1776 workers are covered by the contract.

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