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Kroger Workers Vote on Proposed Contract

Unionized workers at Kroger are voting today on a proposed wage and benefit agreement. The outcome could determine whether Central Ohio stores remain fully staffed for the coming holiday week.

At the Ohio Building on East 17th Ave,Kroger workers trickled in during mid-morning hours to cast ballots on the proposed 3-year contract. The contract vote will determine whether 10-thousand Central Ohio Kroger workers will remain on the job or go out on strike.

Negotiators identified health care costs as a main point of contention in the bargaining talks, and union member Mike Stratton says he's willing to pay some health care premiums. "They're still gonna pay pretty much for most of your health care needs, and they're asking us to contribute a little bit, like $5 for a single person and $15 for a family. I think that's entirely reaonable considering most professions pay a lot more than that." Says Stratton.

But other workers expressed dissatisfaction. One worker who declined to give his name for fear of retribution told why he voted against the contract. "What ever happened to being able to go to a company and they tell you 'You come work for me and I'll give you decent wages and health benefits. I'll cover you because I'm looking for you as an employee.' Whatever happened to that in America?"

Members of Local 1059 of the United Food and Commercial Workers will continue voting until 8 p.m. tonight.