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Kroger workers forgo bonus plan to save jobs.

Kroger workers forgo bonus plan to save jobs

Employees of 40 Kroger Co. stores in Southwestern Virginia and Tennessee accepted a wage cut, averting the planned closing of 13 of the stores. In proposing the closing, Kroger had called for a wage freeze and a new bonus system at the stores that would have remained open, but the members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 278 chose to forgo the bonus plan and take the pay cut to save the jobs at the stores scheduled to close.

The pay cut was $1 an hour for top-rated grocery clerks, who formerly earned $9.71, and 90 cents for meat department heads (formerly $11.43 to $11.74) and top-rated meatcutters (formerly $10.74). The cut will be partly restored when the 3,200 employees receive a 25-cent-an-hour pay increase in November 1987 and a 37-cent increase in November 1988.

Another cost-reducing provision of the 34-month contract was elimination of various job classifications in the meat department, resulting in only a few groupings: full-time or part-time employees and department heads.

Kroger also offered meatcutters inducements to quit their jobs by December 27, 1986: $12,000 for those with more than 12 years' service and $10,000 for others. Similarly, all clerks at top pay rates (attained after 3 years' service) were offered a $10,000 departure payment.

Elsewhere, Kroger negotiated a pay cut with the UFCW for 2,500 employees of 28 stores in the Dayton, OH, area. The 36-cent-an-hour cut, to be accomplished in three 12-cent stages during the second half of the 3-year contract, applies only to top-rated clerks and meatcutters. Pay was frozen for all other employees. Prior to the settlement, top-rated clerks earned $10.14 in Dayton stores and $9.69 for nearby rural areas. For top-rated meatcutters, the respective rates were $11.90 and $11.40.

Other terms included the elimination of four paid personal days off, leaving clerks with two such days and meatcutters with three, in addition to six regular paid holidays.

Kroger said that the cost-reducing terms, were needed to aid the company in competing with discount stores and nonunion stores.

Elsewhere in the industry, Jewel Food Stores and the UFCW negotiated a new contract that equalized pay rates for company employees in Northwest Indiana with those for its employees in the Chicago area. The 700 employees in Indiana had been receiving $1.25 an hour less than the 16,300 Chicago employees.

Other terms for the food clerks included a 35-cent increase in their $10.90 hourly rate, followed by a 15-cent increase in October 1987, and a 25-cent increase in October 1988. General merchandise clerks received 35-, 20-, and 20-cent increases on the corresponding dates, bringing their rate to $9.75.
COPYRIGHT 1987 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Mar 1, 1987
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