Kroger and the union were operating under a contract that expired Aug. 6, and union members weighed a possible strike after rejecting a tentative deal with the grocer on Sept. 16. Representatives again met with Kroger on Sept. 27 to resume negotiations on a new contract, with union leaders expressing satisfaction with the outcome.
"Throughout the entirety of this contentious and uncertain bargaining period, Local 1059 members have continued to make their voices heard and advocated tirelessly for the best contract possible for Kroger employees across the central Ohio region," said local UFCW President Randy Quickel in a statement. “This deal modernizes pay scales and guarantees wage increases to every member, while protecting benefits. The security of a union contract is vital for so many Local 1059 members and their families. Now that the members have voted to ratify, the contract will immediately go into effect."
According to Kroger, wage increases will vary from $1/hour for courtesy clerks and baggers, up to $2.65/hour for grocery, produce and deli/bakery department leaders and customer service coordinators, and a $4/hour starting wage increase for pharmacy technicians. Clerk starting wages will increase to $14.25/hour, which the grocer says will help to hire and retain talented associates to support its team.
"Congratulations to our Kroger Columbus Local 1059 area associates who have ratified the modifications to the collective bargaining agreement," the company said in a statement. "This is great news for everyone, including our community partners and customers."