From your Union President, Greg Frazier
BARGAINING UPDATEOur Union is less than one year from contract negotiations with Smith’s and just short of 18 months from contract negotiations with Albertson’s, Safeway, and United. As you are aware, the Union is “you and I”, and negotiations are a right that Union members get to be involved with. Union members can propose changes, exercise their voices, and ultimately vote on changes to their working conditions, wages, and benefits. We are looking forward to seeing the changes you want to see in 2022.
What changes, additions, deletions, or modifications would you like to see in the next contract with Smith’s, Albertson’s, United, or Safeway? Now is the time to start thinking about this as we will send you a survey/questionnaire in June/July of 2021 for your suggestions.
We want to let you know what’s going on in new contract negotiations in areas around us.
Kroger UFCW workers in Houston, Texas, are just now starting to realize how much more it will cost them and their family to belong in the Kroger Health and Welfare K-Plan. Houston workers belonged in a UFCW Health Fund prior to January 1, 2021, until they were removed. Kroger told the Houston employees repeatedly that the K-Plan would be an improvement, cost them less, and put more money in the pockets of workers. Many in and around Houston have now lost their health insurance from the higher benchmarks to be eligible based on hours worked. In addition, health care costs and prescription costs have skyrocketed for Kroger Houston workers while a work stoppage/strike is lingering. Kroger wanted the employees to believe they could give them more money if they got away from the Union health insurance, but employees are now realizing that what they gained is far less than what they have lost as they are paying a lot more out-of-pocket health care costs to them and their families. This issue is ongoing and will result in a work stoppage soon if a fix is not agreed to. Union Members decide to accept or strike over such matters. New Mexico members get ready; we all know the K-Plan is awful and not a good move.
Just as in Houston, Kroger just recently notified Arkansas Kroger employees that they are forcing them into the Kroger K-Plan. A work stoppage is also building in Little Rock, Arkansas, and being coordinated with Houston and potentially other areas. Arkansas workers are aware that moving from a Union Fund that is equally administered with both company and union trustees to a 100% company-controlled plan is drastic and will allow Kroger to change anything they want, including in the future and at any time Kroger desires.
KROGER DALLAS TEXAS (MEAT)
One of the two Dallas UFCW local unions is having trouble with Kroger, as they face Kroger wanting them to go into the Kroger K-Plan, facing the same problems as in Houston and Arkansas. This group is just meat cutters and wrappers.
ARIZONA KROGER / SAFEWAY / ALBERTSON’S
Arizona just completed negotiations for a three-year contract. Unlike Houston, Arkansas, or Texas, Kroger and Safeway did not propose the company health K-Plan, but they did negotiate cost savings to the company with language not requiring them to pay monthly contributions for six months. Some of you may have noticed your $5, $10, or $15 a week has stopped. This took place because the company is not making any premiums to our health fund. Both the New Mexico and Arizona health funds have an excessive number of reserves and made this possible. New Mexico members are not interested in joining the Kroger K-Plan next year or any year. Some of the other changes Arizona adopted were to add 3 weeks’ vacation after 5 years, floating holiday after one year anniversary, sick pay on first day, a physician’s note after 3rd consecutive absences, and a Labor Day holiday.