Union Threatens Strike Against Kroger Foods as Houstonians, Americans Struggle to Buy Groceries

Unions Play Politics with Economic Recovery amidst COVID-19

AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on Americans and the economy. Unemployment claims remain at historically high levels, a sign the labor market is not making as speedy of a recovery as many economists had initially expected.

Preliminary estimates suggest the U.S. economy as measured by Gross Domesti Product (GDP) is expected to fall by $2.5 trillion over the next year, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife coordinated study.

Adding to these economic hardships, Congressional Democrats continue to block any chance of another CoronaVirus Relief & Stimulus Bill, ending the chance for badly needed additional unemployment benefits for American Voters through the end of 2020.

As such, the Texas Workforce Commission recently announced the last Lost Wages Assistances $300 check would be for the week of September 5th.

Texas joins a number of other states in eliminating additional benefits as a result of the cut in federal funds, including Arizona, Iowa, Utah, Montana, and Tennessee. 

But while many Americans are struggling to make ends meet and find family-sustaining employment, it seems not everyone is as concerned with the predicament facing the American working class.

In Houston, the United Food Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 455 is putting politics over the best interests of 1,000s of members in the Grocery & Retail Industry.

Right now, the Houston union is threatening a strike against one of America’s largest grocery store chains, Kroger Foods.

Their complaint? Kroger and other grocery retailers are not doing enough to support essential, frontline workers.

Yet, Local 455’s complaints do not add up.

The Local 455 Commerical Foods Union is currently negotiating a new contract with Kroger that would bring about wage increases and a new health care package. But, the union has decided to block a vote by its membership.

Local 455’s refusal to allow for a vote in Houston follows the union’s refusal to wave union dues during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moreover, leadership of Local 455:

  • Rakes in nearly a half a million dollars in compensation each year.
  • On top of that, they’re building on their long history of misleading members, and
  • Push misinformation that employers are trying to cut health care benefits in the midst of the pandemic.

Kroger, meanwhile, has already made significant investments to:

  • Implement CDC-recommended practices,
  • Install infrastructure like glass partitions
  • Protect the health and safety of employees and customers alike, and
  • Support workers with temporary pay increased during the height of the pandemic.
Rather than coming together with employers to best advocate for their membership, UFCW continues to raise tensions and block access to the truth about the proposed contract.

The union’s divisive approach is not a winning strategy – and workers will ultimately be forced to pay the price.

Its clear union leadership seems to be more focused on the march to November rather than the best interests of their members.