Kroger employees from across Southeast Texas gathered in front of the Dowlen Road store in Beaumont on Tuesday afternoon to urge public support for its contract negotiations with the company. The union seeks a return of pandemic hazard pay and a halt to potential changes to health care plans.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 455, which represents 28,000 members in parts of Houston, all of Southeast Texas and parts of Louisiana, has been organizing demonstrations at stores in its coverage region since late September as negotiations with Kroger have become more heated.
Labor groups have been calling for the return of hazard benefits that Kroger awarded employees in March, such as a $2 pay bump, since the company ended its “hero bonus” in June. Focus has now shifted to a proposed increase in hours before employees could qualify for health insurance.
The company has also proposed a change