Grocery union cancels contracts with Kroger

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Union leaders announced the action Tuesday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Grocery Workers’ Union has canceled contracts with Kroger over unfair labor practices, the union said Tuesday.

Fred Meyer stores have been bracing for a potential strike after the stores began advertising temporary employee positions while local labor unions weighed their negotiating options.

Store executives have begun hosting job fairs for temp workers, posting signs and advertising positions — firing up many of those already unhappy union members.

The company said they’re trying to prepare to stay open for customers if a strike happens, which could come any day now.

Kelley McAllister, the Communications Director for CFCW Local 555, September 9, 2019 (KOIN)

“Members are furious and rightfully so,” said Kelley McAllister, the Communications Director for UFCW Local 555. “They’re trying to hire temporary workers and then ask our folks who are making $2 to $3 an hour less to train those people? That feels like a slap in the face.”

Union members voted last month whether to authorize a strike, with 94% of members voting yes.

Jeffery Temple, the Director of Corporate Affairs for Fred Meyer spoke by phone with KOIN 6 News. He said they’re “hopeful that there won’t be a strike. But if there is, people need access to food, everyone needs to eat still. So we’re doing our due diligence to post for replacement workers to keep our stores open if need be.”

Yet, because of the $15/hour wage being advertised for these temporary jobs, the union believes it “demonstrates that Fred Meyer can actually afford to pay those workers more than they actually are.”

Fred Meyer stores brace themselves for a possible strike. Sept. 10, 2019. (KOIN)

Temple rebuked the claim and said the $15-an-hour wage for the temporary workers “doesn’t include the premium healthcare or retirement pension that the company pays for our associates.”

Temple said their goal “is to avoid a strike and reach a fair and balanced outcome that works well for both our associates and our stores.”

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

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