Kroger workers have voted overwhelmingly to reject the company’s latest contract proposal and to approve a strike. After tallying ballots in a vote count broadcast over Zoom video conference, members voted 1,551-130 to reject Kroger’s offer and 1,490-199 to approve a strike.
"As we told Kroger time and time again, we fully expected members to reject a proposal that puts our health care at risk," reported UFCW Local 400. "By voting this down so overwhelmingly, we have sent a message loud and clear to the company that we will not accept a substandard contract."
As the union explained in detail before the vote, Kroger’s proposal would place a limit on the amount of money the company is required to pay to fund health care benefits. According to the experts, as early as 14 months from now, this cap could be exceeded and several things could happen, including increases to weekly contributions; health care coverage being slashed; higher deductibles, copays, and out-of-pocket costs; increased prescription drug costs; and eligibility for benefits changing making some workers no longer eligible for health care.
"After months of working on the frontlines of a global pandemic, after being rightly called “heroes” for our service, and after Kroger has made record profits while other businesses have suffered or closed, this is no time for Kroger to be cutting our benefits," said Local 400. "We deserve to be rewarded, not punished, for our hard work. We hope this vote will make Kroger come to its senses. We’re ready to get back to the bargaining table and negotiate a deal that rewards hard-working Kroger associates."