(Washington, DC) – The health care system is in crisis and now, a major supermarket chain has joined the movement to help create a solution. Kroger, the nation’s largest grocer, announced plans today to mobilize its employees and customers to participate in community meetings and online surveys sponsored by the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group. Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is one of the fourteen members of the Working Group and has been reaching out to employers such as Kroger to enlist their involvement in this national dialogue. Kroger is the first to respond.
“We are thrilled to have Kroger’s involvement in this effort,” said Hansen. “We have sat at the bargaining table together for years trying to plug holes in the levees of a failing health care system. Now, we are working together toward a solution that will help all Americans.”
“Affordable, high-quality health care for all Americans is one of the most significant challenges facing our nation,” said David B. Dillon, Kroger chairman and chief executive officer. “Thanks to the work of the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group, all of us have an opportunity to make our voices heard.”
The Citizens’ Health Care Working Group will be holding community meetings in a number of major cities – including Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, Detroit, Phoenix and Chicago – over the next five months and conducting online surveys. For a complete list of cities and to share feedback with the Group, please visit: www.ufcw4healthcare.org
More than 200,000 of the UFCW’s 1.4 million members are hourly Kroger employees
Washington DC — Workers gained a significant victory, yesterday, when Maryland legislators voted to override Governor Robert Erhlich’s veto of the state’s Fair Share Health Care Act. Now, all large employers, including Wal-Mart, must pay a minimum amount for employee health care benefits as do other large employers in Maryland.
“Working families nationwide will take heart from the passage of Fair Share Health Care in Maryland,” said United Food and Commercial Workers International President Joe Hansen. “We have a national health care crisis in this country, but that doesn’t excuse large employers, like Wal-Mart, from shifting their health care costs onto taxpayers and responsible employers.”
With similar legislation as the Maryland act going forward in 30 more states, Hansen said: “UFCW members and their local unions will be actively involved in holding legislators accountable on these measures—and looking to petition their representatives in other states to introduce fair share legislation. Every time UFCW members negotiate health care benefits with their employers, they face demands for cut backs. It’s not fair to workers or responsible employers if large corporations, like Wal-Mart, game the system to get unfair business advantages.”