COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A strike could be on the horizon at central Ohio Kroger stores if an agreement is not reached between the grocery store chain and its union-represented employees.
Kroger union workers in the Columbus division are voting this week on the chain’s most recent tentative contract agreement after they rejected two previous proposals. And they will also be asked to vote on whether to authorize a strike.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union – the union Kroger workers are members of – is recommending members vote “yes” on strike authorization, UFCW Local 1059 President Randy Quickel said in an interview.
If members vote in favor of a strike authorization, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will strike – just that the union has the ability to call a strike. Kroger and the UFCW Local 1059 are recommending members ratify this contract. Both the company and the union also recommended the previous two proposals that were rejected by members.
“The fully recommended tentative agreement on our Last, Best, and Final offer provides good wage increases, affordable health care, and continues to invest in our associates’ pension while keeping groceries affordable for our customers,” Amy McCormick, Kroger corporate affairs manager for the Columbus division, wrote in an email.
But Quickel said the UFCW is in favor of the strike authorization vote if members opt to reject the current proposed contract. Voting began Tuesday and runs through Thursday night.
A potential strike could affect 82 stores and around 12,500 workers that fall within the Columbus division, according to Quickel. The stores fall in an area that extends to Toledo.