UFCW tells Kroger workers to vote on same contract for fourth time, rejects landslide strike authorization

Columbus, Ohio-area Kroger workers outraged that United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1059 officials ignored their strike authorization and forced them to vote on the same contract which they rejected three times. Contractual “negotiations” between the union and the company resulted in a contract favorable to the company, which reduces real wages and imposes a regressive wage scale system which allows the company to reduce wages by reducing hours.

Kroger grocery store in Shepherdsville, Kentucky [Photo by Ambrosia LaFluer / CC BY 4.0]

UFCW 1059 repeatedly claims these contracts are the best Kroger has to offer. This is a blatant lie. Kroger has made $4 billion in profits in each of the past two years as workers have been denied hazard pay during a pandemic that has killed thousands of retail workers.

The union’s negotiating committee “unanimously” endorsed these sell-offs, demonstrating that it is only a business management tool. This only underscores the need for rank-and-file workers to demand the abolition of the bargaining committee and the establishment of a committee made up of the most militant and class-conscious workers. The conduct of this fight can no longer be left in the hands of UFCW bureaucrats like Local 1059 President Randy Quickel, who earns more than $222,000 a year.

Instead of the closed-door conspiracy between Kroger and the UFCW, all negotiations must be broadcast live so workers are fully informed and can press for their own demands.

Serving their corporate managers, UFCW tells workers how “good business” this is. If members have the audacity to reject a contract, it just tells them to try again and again and again until they succeed. That’s what UFCW 700 in Indianapolis did this summer. The workers voted three times on the same contract before the union got the result it wanted.

The growing rebellion of workers against the UFCW bureaucracy is instilling fear in the union leadership. The workers reported that they were now receiving texts from the union attempting to promote the contract. A worker shared his text on social media, in which UFCW informed him that he would only receive a $1 raise for a total of $15.25 an hour.

They said, “A dollar? You guys are f….. hilarious.

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