Workers at Kroger stores in western and central Virginia could soon be on strike.
The union representing some 3,000 employees rejected the company’s latest contract offer today. And workers authorized a strike if they don’t get a new deal by June 4th.
Rick Howell, a front-end worker at a store in Roanoke County, is on the union bargaining team."It was unanimous to say no to the contract, and we needed a two-thirds majority to authorize a strike. We got that and more." Union members said the raises Kroger is proposing are too small and instead of paid sick days, the company’s offering one day of paid personal leave…after three years. Health benefits for retired workers is a big issue, too, according to Kroger worker Mary Little of Lynchburg."We all need to look forward to health care when we retire and we need it. We want it, we deserve it. We need to stand strong as a union and fight for what’s right for us." In a statement, Kroger said it “remains committed to providing all associates a solid and competitive pay and benefits package.” The two sides are scheduled to resume contract talks next week.