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Thousands of Kroger-owned Food 4 Less workers could strike

Workers accuse the grocer of union-busting tactics and failure to bargain in good faith

Thousands of Food 4 Less workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers in California are poised to strike over contract negotiations, the union announced. 

Seven UFCW locals, which collectively represent some 6,000 Food 4 Less/Foods Co. workers across the state, are expected to complete the voting process on June 14, according to a statement from UFCW 770. 

The union contract for UFCW 770 workers expired on June 8. 

A spokesperson from the Kroger-owned banner could not immediately be reached for comment. 

According to a story in The Guardian, UFCW Local 770 grocery clerks at Food 4 Less get fewer hours, receive fewer benefits, and earn $4.30 less per hour than Kroger-owned Ralph’s stores in the area. 

Local 770 said in a press statement that the seven locals representing Food 4 Less/Foods Co. workers filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the grocery chain “for undermining negotiations and workers’ right to representation by discriminating against employees based on union activity, prohibiting employees from participating in union activity, monitoring employees engaging in union activity, and unilaterally changing contract terms outside of the legal bargaining process.”

Contract negotiations have been ongoing since April, and workers have held rallies calling on the grocery chain to “bargain in good faith and reach a fair and reasonable contract agreement with its workers.”

“While we are trying to bargain a fair contract for all 6,000 Food 4 Less/Foods Co. workers, the company has engaged in multiple labor violations from discrimination and unlawful surveillance of workers, to prohibiting us from participating in union activity, unilaterally changing our contract, and blocking us from talking to our union representatives,” the union said in a press release. “These actions are nothing more than an attempt to strong-arm us into accepting an offer that is less than what we deserve and less than what their parent company, Kroger, provides other grocery workers in the area.”

The union also said in late May that Kroger has listed temporary positions at Food 4 Less stores as a “union-busting tactic.”

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