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COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE KROGER CO., UFCW LOCAL 539 OFFICIALLY TERMINATES SATURDAY, APRIL 11

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE KROGER CO., UFCW LOCAL 539
 OFFICIALLY TERMINATES SATURDAY, APRIL 11
 DETROIT, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- This Saturday (April 11) at 10:15 a.m., the collective bargaining agreement between United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 539 and The Kroger Company (NYSE: KR) officially terminates. Kroger's meat and seafood department employees represented by Local 539 have been working under an extended contract since Jan. 4, 1992. On Wednesday, Local 539 served 72 hours' notice of contract termination on Kroger. Local 539 is a sister union of Local 876, which is also facing a strike deadline with Kroger.
 Local 539's members have not had an hourly wage increase in over 10 years, and the union leaders say bargaining for a new contract with Kroger has been futile.
 On March 30, 1992, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a formal Complaint charging Kroger with bargaining in bad faith with Local 539.
 "Kroger is the largest and one of the most profitable supermarket chains in the country, and there is no reason why our members can't have jobs with dignity and justice," said Andy Johnson, president of Local 539. According to Johnson, Kroger is demanding a wage freeze for Local 539 members with less than four years' seniority. Also, Johnson said, while Kroger has proposed a 15-cent-per-hour annual wage increase for employees with over four years' seniority, it is demanding cuts in bonuses, supplemental days, vacation and overtime benefits that actually result in a net loss.
 Kroger and Local 539 have not bargained since late February. "They have refused to even meet with us," said Johnson.
 Trial on the Labor Board's bad-faith bargaining case against Kroger is scheduled for Aug. 10, 1992. The NLRB is also investigating allegations that Kroger threatened Local 539 members who engaged in protected union free-speech activity. In its official notice of contract termination, Local 539 told Kroger that its "illegal and bad- faith conduct has necessitated this action."
 -0- 4/10/92
 /CONTACT: Andy Johnson of UFCW Local 539, 313-334-3000/
 (KR) CO: The Kroger Company; United Food and Commercial Workers Local 539 ST: Michigan IN: REA SU:


SM -- DE027 -- 7356 04/10/92 16:11 EDT
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Date:Apr 10, 1992
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