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KROGER ATTEMPT TO DIVIDE AND CONQUER STRIKERS REJECTED BY UNION; COMPANY REFUSES AROUND-THE-CLOCK NEGOTIATIONS

 KROGER ATTEMPT TO DIVIDE AND CONQUER STRIKERS REJECTED BY UNION;
 COMPANY REFUSES AROUND-THE-CLOCK NEGOTIATIONS
 MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich., May 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released by United Food & Commercial Workers Union Locals 876 and 539:
 Early this afternoon, the Kroger Company (NYSE: KR) requested a meeting with UFCW Local 876 and 539 leadership to present a "document." We asked if Kroger was ready to bargain, and the company said "No."
 Still, we agreed to meet at the company's requested time of 3 p.m., and subsequently learned the company was informing the media of a major announcement at 3:30.
 We met with Mr. Greenisen and two other Kroger officials, and received a most unusual document, at least in the history of modern labor-management relations.
 Let me make it clear: Kroger did not present a new proposal for bargaining. In fact, when the UFCW offered to immediately return to the bargaining table and begin negotiations, Kroger refused.
 There is less to the Kroger proposal than meets the eye, and it is no breakthrough by any stretch of the imagination. It would put our members further behind their brothers and sisters at Farmer Jack.
 Kroger did not even present a valid contract offer, which of course would have to be presented to our rank-and-file negotiating committees and to our Advisory Committee.
 For example, there is absolutely nothing new in this document for part-timers -- more than 60 percent of the Kroger workers.
 No lump-sum bonus. No retroactivity. No change on the part-time issues, especially qualification for dependent coverage.
 Except for a minor change in the company position on supplemental days, Kroger offered nothing new.
 Instead of a serious proposal, Kroger presented a scripted media event. From the very beginning of the strike, Kroger has sought to negotiate in the media, rather than at the bargaining table. That's the only place where this strike will be resolved.
 The UFCW is willing to look at any concept, but if the company has a valid approach and offer, then it should put it on the negotiating table and start bargaining. Instead, Kroger made another Pearl Harbor attack on the collective bargaining process.
 Kroger made this scripted media event in an effort to break the solidarity of our members, get them back to work, and work on them into accepting the unacceptable at a later date.
 It won't work. Kroger's full-time employees will not be seduced by a $1,000 bribe into abandoning their co-workers who work part-time and into abandoning their successful strike for a fair and just contract for all Kroger workers.
 If the issues can be resolved later, they can be resolved now. All it takes is a willingness to negotiate, to bargain and to compromise.
 UFCW Locals 539 and 876 are ready to negotiate, bargain and compromise, whenever Kroger is ready.
 -0- 5/15/92
 /CONTACT: Al Zack of UFCW Local 876, 313-585-9671/
 (KR) CO: United Food & Commercial Workers; The Kroger Company ST: Michigan IN: REA SU:


SM-ML -- DE027 -- 1008 05/15/92 17:55 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 15, 1992
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