Unionization is essential for employees because it provides a way to negotiate better working conditions by taking advantage of the strength in numbers.
As the largest supermarket chain in the U.S., Kroger employs many people in its more than 2,800 stores. But is the store unionized? Does any union represent employees? Here is all you need to know.
Is Kroger Unionized In 2023?
Kroger is unionized; however, not all store members have joined the union. Kroger employees are under the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents employees to ensure that they get the right benefits, good wages, and working conditions from the retailer. Employees who are part of the union pay some dues per paycheck.
Read on for more details about unionization at Kroger, how it works, how much employees pay, and the benefits.
Do You Have to Join a Union at Kroger?
When you get employed at Kroger, you have to join the union if the store is unionized. However, not all stores are under the union; therefore, in this case, it’s not a must to join one.
Additionally, according to some past and current Kroger employees, it depends on whether your store is in a right-to-work state or not.
If you are in a right-to-work state, you don’t have to be in a union.
Furthermore, it might be more suitable if you plan to have a long-term career at Kroger.
Therefore, this depends on the store you work at. If you are unsure about the details, you can consult the management to get more information.
Who Can Join the Kroger Union?
If you are a Kroger employee, you can join the union to improve your chances of getting better terms. However, this might be limited to non-management employees.
You can also confirm with the union organizers and representatives to know whether you are eligible to join the union.
Are All Kroger Stores Unionized?
According to the UFCW website, most Kroger stores have a union contract that guarantees employees better wages and work conditions, while others don’t.
UFCW represents employees in 2/3 of all Kroger stores countrywide; therefore, some stores are not unionized.
Kroger is not against unionization, and employees are allowed to join one based on their own preferences.
Who Represents Kroger Union Members?
Kroger members who are unionized are represented by a labor union known as United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFWC).
This also represents about 835,000 grocery store workers across the country.
Once Kroger employees join this union, they pay some dues. The union ensures that they earn better benefits and wages.
They get health insurance, sick leave, holidays, and vacation time, and it helps them organize together.
While UFCW recruits Kroger members once they get employed, employees have to decide whether they want to join the union.
What Are the Benefits of Joining the Kroger Union?
Here are some of the benefits Kroger employees get from joining the union:
Better Wages and Benefits
According to UFCW, unionized employees earn 13% more than non-union members. Negotiating as a group makes it possible to get higher wages.
During strikes in some Kroger stores, the UFCW has managed to negotiate salary increases and new collective bargaining agreements.
This action improves the living conditions of the employees.
As union members, employees can get paid time off for vacation and time to pursue other things such as education.
If you sign up to this union, they are able to negotiate flexible schedules with Kroger.
Access to Healthcare
Unionization increases your chances of getting affordable workplace healthcare from Kroger.
UFCW union contracts with Kroger includes access to these services for you and your family; therefore, employees benefit from such services.
Fair Treatment at Work
Without a union contract, you can be fired at any time.
However, you can get assistance when you are unionized if you feel that you were fired unfairly by Kroger. This is ideal if you want to keep your job secure.
Union contracts also protect employees and make them feel safe at the workplace. They have safety programs and rules that ensure employees are honest about workplace safety.
Why Are Some Kroger Stores Not Unionized?
While Kroger is unionized, no law compels membership; therefore, employees have a right to organize of their own free will. Employees can join a union based on their personal decision.
If you want to start your own union at your Kroger store, you should begin by talking to your coworkers and union organizers.
Next, you need to fill out the form on the UFCW website to connect with the organizers.
Does Kroger Treat Union and Non-Union Members Differently?
Kroger treats all its employees the same regardless of whether they are in a union or not. Once you get employed, you’ll be paid the negotiated wages even if you’re not in the union.
However, if you stay at Kroger for longer, the difference is that union employees might get improved terms from new negotiations by the UFCW.
Away from this, all other Kroger internal policies cover everyone equally, including non-union members.
How Much Union Dues Do Kroger Employees Pay?
A local UFCW union represents several Kroger stores depending on the location. On average, the employees pay to UFCW, and then they have to add the local dues.
Therefore, the dues will vary depending on the local union in your location.
Before joining the union, you should confirm the exact amount to see whether you can afford it based on your wage.
To know more, you can also read our posts on what is Kroger California, is Aldi & Kroger the same, and does Kroger hires at 14.
Kroger is unionized; however, not all store members have joined the union. Kroger employees are under the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).
This union represents employees to ensure that they get the right benefits, good wages, and working conditions from the retailer. Employees who are part of the union pay some dues per paycheck.