UFCW Members in Houston and Oregon Strike Against Kroger!
Local 135 Sends Union Reps to Houston to Lend Solidarity!
At companies owned by Kroger, UFCW union members from Local 455 in Houston, Texas, and members of Local 555 in Oregon, have made the choice to walk off their jobs this week after Kroger failed to offer an acceptable contract. The companies include Kroger, Fred Meyer and Quality Food Centers (QFC).
14,000 UFCW members in Houston and 5,600 in Oregon have chosen to fight instead of accept Kroger’s lowball offer. Workers in Houston will be engaged in a full-on economic strike while those in Oregon will be conducting an Unfair Labor Practice strike. Houston union members are fighting extra hard for their union health care after Kroger unilaterally placed them on a more expensive company plan.
The essential union workers at these Kroger owned companies have been overworked and underpaid for the dangers they faced while on the job during the pandemic. They brought value to Kroger’s bottom line, helping provide massive profits, and they want to be recognized with a contract that appreciates that value.
“As a former 20-year Ralphs/Kroger employee, I am appalled with their anti-worker behavior. I watched Ralphs turn into an organization that exploited employees during the pandemic and only cares about profits,” says UFCW Local 135 President Todd Walters.
In a show of union solidarity, UFCW Local 135 has sent two Union Representatives to Houston, Texas to help the members of Local 455 fight for a new contract. Union Reps Stacie Cordeiro and Oscar Sumabat were the first to be sent out on the solidarity mission. Other Local 135 Union Reps will follow in ten-day rotations until the dispute is settled.
“Local 135 will support our union siblings in Houston in their fight for a fair contract,” stated brother Todd. “We must unify and fight together when we take on a large corporation like Kroger. Because we may soon be fighting them here in Southern California.”
Multiple Southern California grocery contracts are set to expire on March 1, 2022. These include Albertsons, Vons, Stater Bros., Gelson’s and Ralphs (owned by Kroger). Based on previous negotiations, we expect more resistance from Kroger, so we’re taking the fight to them in Texas.
Kroger is looking for nonunion workers willing to cross the picket lines. Let your Union Rep know if you hear about fellow union members going or managers being sent to Houston or Oregon to help Kroger break the strike. Please keep us informed of any news you hear from Kroger regarding these work stoppages.
“Kroger has a history of doing inappropriate things. In 2006, Ralphs plead guilty of hiring workers under false social security numbers during the 2003 Southern California grocery strike and had to pay tens of millions of dollars in criminal fines and in compensation to affected workers,” comments President Walters.
Whether in San Diego or halfway across the country, Local 135 stands in solidarity with fellow UFCW union members. Our solidarity extends all the way to Texas and beyond, standing shoulders to shoulder with union siblings, ready to fight.