Union reaches a tentative contract at 38 Kroger stores in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Bargainers for a union representing workers at 38 Kroger stores in West Virginia and two other states reached a tentative agreement with the grocery chain on a contract Thursday.

A Kroger store is shown in Cross Lanes, W.Va
A Kroger store is shown Friday, March 1, 2024, in Cross Lanes, W.Va. A union representing 3,000 workers in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky has voted to reject a contract offer from the company and to authorize a strike if necessary. [John Raby | AP]
The announcement came a week after members of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 400 rejected a previous contract offer and voted to authorize a strike.
Union spokesperson Jonathan Williams said in a telephone interview that the proposed pay raises in the earlier offer fell well short of keeping up with inflation. The offer also had unacceptable potential increases in health-care costs during the life of the contract, Williams said.
“We are pleased to announce we have reached a tentative agreement with Kroger to avoid a strike,” the union said in a statement, adding that it recommended ratification.
A meeting is scheduled for Monday to review the offer ahead of a vote, which will be counted next Thursday, the union said.The previous contract involving about 3,000 workers at 32 Kroger stores throughout in West Virginia, four in southern Ohio and two in Ashland, Kentucky, expired Feb. 24.

The latest offer includes undisclosed pay improvements and has no health-care cost increases that the company previously sought, the union said. A spokesperson for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic Division said the offer also provides pensions for retirement.