Washington, D.C. – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) local unions and Kroger Company have announced today an agreement to improve and secure pension funds, or defined benefit pension plans, for over 170,000 retired and active Kroger workers. The pension plan, which will result from the merger of four plans, includes a ten-year review and will affect Kroger workers who are members of 14 UFCW local unions in 15 states, primarily in the Midwest and South.The combined plan will protect the current benefits of vested employees and enhance the benefits of new hires. The plan will also include automatic benefit increases as pay increases, with benefits proportionately pegged to salary levels, and will provide a more secure and stable pension fund in an unstable financial environment. The combined plan also includes a commitment by Kroger to pay off all of the unfunded liability in the markets covered by the 14 UFCW local unions. In a volatile financial environment, this plan represents a long term solution for a secure retirement for our hard working members who have chosen a career in the retail food industry, said UFCW International President Joseph T. Hansen. The UFCW is proud of our local union leaders and Kroger for working together toward an innovative solution for workers retirement security. Defined benefit pension plans are the most secure retirement system for workers. While many workers are forced to rely on their own investments, like 401 (k) plans, or have no retirement at all, UFCW members have retirement security through their pension benefits that provide for a monthly payment for their lifetime after they retire. Members of the 14 UFCW local unions are in the process of ratifying the new plan. Those members who have already met have overwhelmingly approved the proposal. More than 197,000 UFCW members work in Kroger stores across the country.
Washington, DC – United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Executive Vice President and Director of Organizing Pat O’Neill has been named by his peers as co-head of the Board of North America’s largest institutional investor trade group, the Council of Institutional Investors (CII). O’Neill was unanimously elected as Co-Chair with Joseph Dear, Chief Investment Officer of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, at the CII semi-annual conference last week.
O’Neill is a leader for greater accountability and transparency from the investment managers of pension plans that are entrusted with the retirements of millions of Americans. He has also is a prominent union trustee himself, safeguarding the retirements of people across North America who have worked in the retail, grocery and food processing industries.
“CII is a place where union pension funds, public fund trustees and corporate plans all find common ground,” said O’Neill. “We all work together to demand accountability from irresponsible corporations and protect the retirements earned by decades of hard work by millions of people.”
CII is a nonprofit association of public, union and corporate employee benefit funds along with foundations and endowments that have combined assets worth more than $3 trillion. CII is a leading voice for good corporate governance and strong shareowner rights.