COLUMBUS, Ohio — Kroger is “assessing its options” with a potential new contract for its employees after its workers’ union rejected an agreement and voted for strike authorization.
Earlier this week, the Cincinnati-based grocery store chain presented a third tentative agreement to members of UFCW Local 1059, the Columbus chapter of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union.
Over the course of three days, 6,719 members voted on the contract with 55% of them voting against it. Following the contract vote, 81% of the union voted to authorize a strike – though a strike has not been called at this time.
Kroger said the contract was its “last, best and final offer” that provided "good wage increases, affordable health care and invested in employees’ pensions while keeping groceries affordable for customers." The agreement was fully recommended for ratification by the union and company bargaining committees.
In an update Saturday, Kroger released more information on the contract.
According to a release, the contract included approximately $381 million in new wages, healthcare and employee pension benefits.
The release further states that wages would go up to $1.80 per hour through the life of a top-rate associate’s contract.
Starting pay would increase to $14.25 and active employees and department heads would be eligible for ratification bonuses.
Union president Randy Quickel told 10TV that members will continue to bargain with the company.
Kroger employees will continue to report for work as usual for the time being, the company said.