On April 28, approximately 8,000 members of UFCW Local 1529 who work at Kroger grocery stores in Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky and Arkansas ratified a new contract that improves wages and benefits.
Key provisions of the five-year contract, which was ratified by a majority of the members, include an increase in wages across all job brackets and a ratification bonus, as well as an increase in part-time minimum weekly hours. The contract also protects health insurance benefits and the pension plan, increases funeral leave and personal days, and improves holiday pay and vacation schedules. In addition, the contract includes a letter of understanding to address safety and emergency issues in the stores; doubles night hourly premium ($1.00 to $2.00); adds an additional sales volume wage bracket for department heads, leads and premium positions for higher volume stores; and adds a wine consultant lead with an hourly premium based on sales volume.
“It has been a long time coming, but a change came that was worth the wait,” said Gail Burns, who is a lead grocery clerk at Kroger store #486 in Memphis, Tenn. “All members gain something.”
“I’m glad to finally get an agreement where the members are reaping some of their rewards for all their efforts over the past two years,” said UFCW Local 1529 President Lonnie Sheppard. “The wage increases were the highest we have negotiated, but Kroger must do more. Kroger must make adjustments on their profits made from our members’ efforts. They are the ones that made these profits possible.”