Kroger Workers Authorize Strike; Chain Recruits Strikebreakers
DETROIT (AP) _ Kroger Co. employees voted Sunday to strike at 65 stores in southeastern Michigan. The grocery store chain recruited replacement workers to keep the stores open.
Members of Local 876 of the United Food and Commercial Workers voted 3,803 to 914 to reject the chain’s latest contract offer and authorized a strike by a vote of 3,725 to 1,007, said Chris McChesney, an administrative assistant for the local.
The union represents 7,000 Kroger employees.
″What Kroger has to offer, I can’t see taking that,″ said employee Kim Reed. ″I’m going to college next year, and I can’t pay my tuition on what I’m making right now.″
The company, which ran help-wanted ads seeking strikebreakers, signed up replacement workers Saturday at three recruitment centers. More than 1,000 people applied.
″I’ve got to eat,″ said Lynn Plourde, a laid-off truck-driver signing up for one of the jobs.
Kroger spokesman Michael Layne said Sunday night all affected stores would remain open.
Contract talks broke off April 3 and no new bargaining has been scheduled. The previous contract expired Jan. 3.
Kroger’s proposal called for elimination of 10 personal days a year for full-time employees and offered $1.50 an hour in wage increases spread over four years. Workers now earn $4.50 to $8 an hour.