Local 400 members working for Kroger in the Roanoke area are mobilizing for a strong, fair collective bargaining agreement, joining with their Local 400 brothers and sisters working for Kroger in Richmond, the Tidewater area and West Virginia, as well as a diverse coalition of community allies.
With the current Kroger Roanoke contract expiring on March 30 — bargaining started February 20th — much is riding on the outcome of these negotiations, requiringmaximum member involvement.
“Kroger is a large, growing and profitable company thanks to the hard work and productivity of UFCW members,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “It dominates most of the markets it’s in. And it’s expanding throughout Virginia.
“It’s time for Kroger to do right by our members—the workers who are making that expansion possible,” he said. “This is a corporation making more than $2 billion in profits every year and it is fully capable of compensating its workers fairly and appropriately with middle class wages and strengthened health and retirement security.
“Management must understand that all Local 400 members working at Kroger are united in support of their brothers and sisters in the Roanoke area,” Federici said. “So its actions during this round of bargaining will generate a response from its Richmond, Tidewater and West Virginia workers, too.
“That’s why member unity—and member activism—will be the key to determining what kind of collective bargaining agreement we get from these negotiations,” he added. “Our members are the engine that propels the company’s growth, and these negotiations are an opportunity for the company to strengthen that engine, rather than throw salt in the fuel tank,” Federici said.
Local 400 members are also reaching out to the faith and civil rights communities. The Virginia State Conference NAACP has already pledged to stand with Local 400’s Kroger members in their fight for a fair contract.
“We are very grateful to the NAACP for its strong support,” said Local 400 Secretary-Treasurer LaVoris “Mikki” Harris. “We have a long and fruitful partnership for social and economic justice throughout Virginia—one that benefits our members directly. Together, Local 400 and our community allies are making clear to Kroger management that it needs to offer our members a fair contract or else it risks alienating its customers and the communities it serves.”
For up to the minute information on the status of bargaining and member actions in support of the negotiations, visit www.onekroger.org — a blog by and for Kroger UFCW Local 400 members.
-From most recent issue of the Union Leader.