June 27, 2006
ARKANSAS KROGER WORKERS STAND UP FOR HEALTH CARE
(Little Rock, Ark.) – Facing pressure from Kroger, Arkansas supermarket workers stood together to secure a new union contract that protects affordable health care for workers and their families. A majority of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 2008 Kroger members voted to accept a new contract Sunday evening. The agreement came after eleven straight hours of bargaining, through which members were able to avoid a potential strike.
UFCW Local 2008 members expressed their satisfaction with the new four-year contract, which locks in quality, affordable health care with minimal co-pays beginning in 2009. The new agreement expands some additional health care benefits for workers and secures the financial health of the joint labor-management health care trust fund. Workers will receive wage increases of $1.25 over the term of the contract and equalizes wage scales. Members in the retail unit ratified the contract by 80 percent, and meat unit members by over 68 percent.
Charles Lee, UFCW Local 2008 President, said Sunday, “We achieved more at the table by coordinating our bargaining with other UFCW locals in our region, including Houston Local 455, Dallas Local 540 and Memphis Local 1529. Our members stuck together and stayed involved in the process. They deserve all the credit for making gains without a work stoppage.”
Approximately 2,500 UFCW Local 2008 members in and around Little Rock, Arkansas are affected by the new contract.