‘Strikesgiving’? Kroger employees vote to strike as shopping for Turkey Day ramps up

Houston-area employees of the country’s largest grocery chain could halt work “within a week”—i.e. right before Thanksgiving.


By Clint Rainey, Fast Company



Is “Striketober” evolving into a “Strikesgiving”? Besides the ongoing labor strikes at Kellogg (among America’s biggest food companies) and John Deere (America’s biggest farm-equipment manufacturer), and one that Kaiser Permanente (a top U.S. healthcare provider) just averted this week, Houston-area employees at Kroger (America’s largest grocery chain) say they’ve also voted to walk off the job. They number 14,000 workers, and for weeks Kroger and their union—UFCW Local 455—have been locked in heated contract negotiations.


The union argues the company’s proposals aren’t offering enough money or adequate healthcare. A vote was just held at over 100 Houston locations so workers could weigh in on Kroger’s latest proposal. The union reported last night that “a record-breaking number of members” had cast votes, and 97% of them had rejected the contract. In the same vote, they also authorized the union to call for a strike, and Local 455 tells the Houston Chronicle it could happen “within a week”—during the year’s busiest shopping days for Kroger.


In a statement announcing the strike vote, Local 455 president Brandon Hopkins said: “Even as Kroger has made billions in profits during this pandemic, the company has proposed a contract that would force these essential workers to pay more for healthcare and would reduce full-time positions that are vital to providing the strong customer service shoppers deserve.” Probably not cooling tensions were reports that Kroger was calling the police on some workers as they arrived at stores to vote on the contract...


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