Both bargaining parties met on 8/18 and 8/19 to discuss your union contract. While some movement was made, the company decided to offer a Last, Best, and Final offer instead of bargaining to a full recommended contract that all sides can agree on, and most important, one that reflects your true value and hard work.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
When the company dropped their Last, Best, and Final Offer, they sent a message that they are unwilling to work towards a solution that protects your health care, provides stable wage increases, and keeps your jobs secure. The company’s offer is anything but “best.” Here’s how it will impact you in 3 major ways:
1) YOUR HEALTHCARE:
- The company’s final offer still takes away your voice in your health care by moving you to their Company-Controlled “K-Plan.”
- The company claims their K-Plan will merge employees into a company-controlled plan with over 100,000 other participants, but the company will not identify who these other participants are; from what we have been shown this is a brand new plan starting next year with no experience.
- The company continues to refuse to make proposals or counter proposals that have anything to do with a labor-management trust fund plan, so their intention is to have complete power over your healthcare.
Bottom line: The company’s offer is not about saving money; it is about them having total control. Our position is that your health care needs to stay in a Trust Fund where YOU have a voice in your health benefits and costs. While we are proposing proper funding for South Central and exploring other ways to protect your health care, we have been, and still remain, open to working towards the right solution for your health care coverage, not a one-size fits all plan that only fits the company’s needs and not yours.
2) YOUR WAGES:
- Not only has the company eliminated hazard pay in the middle of a pandemic, their offer also includes a complete overhaul of your wages that will result in significantly less raises and mobility.
- They are shifting focus to entry level wages with a total increase of $2.75 over the life of the contract, compared to only $0.90 for full-time workers at their top rate and only $2.50 for mid-level workers.
- Their offer will essentially freeze all wage rates for mid- to department- level positions.
Bottom line: The company’s offer is not about rewarding your hard work; it is about them keeping more profit. You are the reason for Kroger’s record profits during the pandemic, including over $1 billion in shareholder payouts and stock buybacks in the past 6 months alone. You have earned and deserve wages that reflect your value to the company you have made incredibly successful. Our Proposed Wage increases are across the board, for all bargaining unit employees, and will be retro-active from 5/16/20 (the exact date the company took away your hazard pay).
3) YOUR JOB SECURITY:
- The company remains committed to an aggressive and unreasonable approach that reclassifies department workers into unpopular levels, so that they can get away with paying you less.
- Currently, 50% of the hours in each store apply towards full time positions. The company’s proposal reduces full time positions by up to 20% in Volume 1 stores, and by 10 % in Volume 2 stores.
- The company is still proposing for clerks to work in the Meat Department, and for Meat department employee’s to work in other departments! This company proposal will lead to an erosion of work for our members!
Bottom line: The company seems intent on cutting your benefits, your voice, your pay, and ultimately making jobs worse, not better. Our Position is that if you work hard, you have earned and deserve the ability to build a better life, and that one good job should be enough. We should be protecting good jobs, especially during these times of uncertainty, not dismantling them piece by piece.
THE BOTTOM LINE: WE ARE NOT AT IMPASSE!
The company claims we are at an “impasse” and has made many threats to not schedule bargaining dates until we propose something different than your South Central Trust Fund plan. Your union continues to propose studies that look into other ways to strengthen your health care as well as numerous proposals for wage increases and other benefits.
After educating the company on their wrongful statements on impasse, your union was able to schedule future bargaining dates on 9/2 and 9/3 – which clearly means that bargaining still continues.
We will not accept a “last best and final” offer while there are still numerous open items on the table and future negotiation dates scheduled.
Now more than ever, it’s important to stay updated, informed, and ready to take action:
1. Make sure you and your co-workers are signed up to receive blast text notices of breaking news. Text “KrogerHou” to 83071.
2. Your Union Rep will be in touch with you for next steps.
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