June, 2007

TEXAS KROGER WORKERS STAND FIRM TO SECURE HEALTH CARE FUNDING

(Houston, Tex.)—This weekend, grocery workers in Houston and Dallas represented by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Unions 540, 455, and 408 achieved a solid victory when they overwhelmingly voted to ratify a three-year contract agreement securing affordable, quality health care.

With the support of community and religious leaders, shoppers and UFCW members nationwide, Texas workers held firm in their resolve to improve health care funding, quality, and cost for all Kroger workers.  They achieved their aims in a contract with:

  • adequate health and welfare funding for the length of the contract;
  • wage increases up to as much as $3/hr over the contract;
  • increased vacation, with more flexibility; and
  • improved pension security.

Kroger also provided a letter of commitment which guarantees adequate resources in the health and welfare fund, in addition to which the company promises to add up to $1.4 million if necessary.  The level of funding in the health and welfare fund was one of the primary concerns for workers during contract negotiations.“Workers are pleased with the contract,” said Chad Young, UFCW International Vice President and Region Director.  “We’re certain that the funding will be secure for quality, affordable health care.”
Throughout the negotiations process, UFCW members demonstrated solidarity and strength in bargaining for a fair contract. Coordinated action with supporters and customers was also key to the workers’ success. Community members and grocery workers sent emails of support, attended a rally for Kroger workers, sent emails to Kroger CEO David Dillon, and signed pledge cards supporting Kroger employees.

The coordinated effort in Houston and Dallas is part of a UFCW nationwide bargaining unity program. By supporting each other regionally and nationally, as well as engaging customers and community members in their struggle, grocery workers are improving grocery industry jobs for themselves and their communities. To learn more about the Texas contracts and other bargaining campaigns, go to: www.groceryworkersunited.org.

KROGER TEXAS WORKERS HOLD FIRM FOR AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE

(Houston, Tex.) – Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Locals 455, 408 and 540 in Houston and Dallas have reached tentative agreements with Kroger that protects affordable health care for workers and their families.

Workers and community supporters made their voices heard that securing reliable health care benefits for hourly wage earners was non-negotiable.   Kroger heard that message loud and clear, especially in the form of customer and community support for Kroger workers.

The tentative agreement provides secure funding levels for health care benefits so that workers and their families can be assured that they will not face unexpected cuts to coverage.  More details will be made available after UFCW members have an opportunity to discuss and vote on the proposals.  The bargaining committees from all three local unions are recommending that members approve the agreement.

Workers will be voting on the proposals during meetings on Saturday and Sunday in both Houston and Dallas.  If approved, the three-year contract will take affect immediately.

For updates on voting times and locations, log on to the local union websites – www.ufcw455.org, www.ufcw408.org and www.ufcw540.org

HOUSTON COMMUNITY MEMBERS STAND WITH KROGER WORKERS IN FIGHT FOR AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE


Participants in
 Houston Press Conference today will Rally and Walk the Block to Let Community Members Know About Kroger’s Plans to “Wal-Mart-ize” Health Care

HOUSTON–United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 408 and 455 members working at Kroger stores in the Houston area will join with local community leaders and supporters today in asking Kroger to stop attacking workers’ health care. A press conference will be held at 3:00 p.m., at the Kroger Store, 10306 S. Post Oak Rd., (just outside of the 610 S. Loop) in Houston, and will be followed by a neighborhood walk to let community members know about Kroger’s greed.

Joining Houston Kroger workers at the press conference and rally will be prominent community and religious leaders, including representatives from the Houston Interfaith Workers Justice Center, ACORN, the Coalition for Workers and the Poor, LCLAA, and the Latino Labor Council, as well the President and Secretary Treasurer of the Harris County AFL-CIO, the President of the of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, the President of the Houston NAACP Branch, and other supporters and community activists.

This broad coalition of community and religious supporters are standing with Kroger workers for affordable health care. With Kroger’s latest contract offer, workers will be forced to choose between paying the electric bill and taking their children to the doctor.

Meanwhile, Kroger continues to be the most successful company in the industry, with rising profits and growing market share—and throughout contract negotiations the company has refused to share any of that success with the workers who made it possible.

Houston community members don’t believe that people who go to work everyday should have to rely on public assistance for health care coverage, or that Kroger should be allowed to shift their health care costs to local taxpayers like Wal-Mart does. Please join Houston community leaders and workers in saying “no” to Kroger’s attacks on employee health care and the community.

Members throughout the country are unified in a nationwide movement to improve jobs in the grocery industry for workers, families, and communities.   For more on UFCW negotiations across the country, please visit the Grocery Workers United website at: www.groceryworkersunited.org.