Kroger, UFCW Discussions Ongoing

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Kroger, UFCW Discussions Ongoing

CINCINNATI - While unionized workers at Kroger-run supermarkets in Texas have been reportedly gearing up for a strike, the grocery chain took out newspaper ads in recent days to attract new workers in the Dallas and Houston areas.

Kroger officials and union officials were still talking at press time, but no deal had been reached. The workers are from United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) locals 408 and 455, representing 12,700 employees working at approximately 110 stores in the greater Houston area.

The union reps have said the company's wage and health insurance offers have been unacceptable, but a Kroger spokesman said the company is trying to reach a "balanced agreement" to resolve the stalemate that has characterized relations since the most recent contract expired at midnight on March 31.

Kroger is also in negotiations with UFCW Local 540 in the Dallas market, and Local 911 in Toledo.

Since February 16, the nation's top-ranked grocery chain and the UFCW local unions have been negotiating new collective bargaining agreements for wages, benefits, and conditions of employment.

"Kroger remains committed to working with union representatives to reach a balanced agreement that provides good wages and benefits for associates in way that keeps Kroger's jobs secure and our company competitive," said Gary Huddleston, consumer affairs director for Kroger's Southwest Division. "We continue to be hopeful that a fair and balanced agreement can be reached and our concern as always is for all of our Kroger associates."