August 30, 2013
New Contract Raises Living Standards, Maintains Benefits For 4,800 Workers in Roanoke Area
ROANOKE, Va. – Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 working at Kroger in the Roanoke area successfully ratified a new, three-year collective bargaining agreement that raises their living standards and maintains their health and retirement benefits.
“This agreement is as good as any in the country,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “Despite the damaging impact of the Affordable Care Act on the joint labor-management Taft-Hartley Funds providing health care to our members, we were able to maintain current benefits. And despite the still-struggling economy, we were able to negotiate actual raises and bonuses. Our members deserve all the credit for this strong contract, because their solidarity and activism is what made everything possible.”
The bargaining was challenging and protracted, largely because Obama administration regulations covering implementation of the Affordable Care Act deny Taft-Hartley Funds any of the benefits of the new law while imposing major new burdens. As a result, the previous contract, which expired on March 31, 2013, was extended for five months, though many other negotiations in the grocery industry have required extensions lasting a year or longer.
Highlights of the new agreement include:
- Increases in total compensation of nearly $2/hour over the life of the contract including wages and employer contributions to the health and retirement funds, plus bonuses.
- Maintenance of health and retirement benefits for current employees.
- Expansion of job classifications that increase the number of lead positions, creating new paths for career advancement and increases in earnings.
- Defeat of numerous management proposals for worker concessions.
“I couldn’t be more pleased that our Kroger Roanoke members will be able to work for the next three years under an industry-leading collective bargaining agreement that empowers them to continue improving their lives,” Federici said.