Kroger cart and employee and jets

Kroger corporate negotiators told UFCW 1059 on Wednesday they will return to the bargaining table on September 27.

Kroger 1059 members and union stewards are calling it “a win” for their union and, more importantly, themselves.

Overworked, exhausted, and stressed out, Kroger 1059 members exhaled deeply Wednesday night as word spread the standoff had ended since they rejected the last contract vote a week ago, the third time in 45 days they voted down their three-year deal.

These same Kroger 1059 members were telling the Free Press that word was spreading through the stores that union stewards were pressing 1059 leadership – its main office in White Hall – to authorize a strike.

But what made Kroger corporate return to the bargaining table, and not make their last offer its “last, best, and final offer,” is unknown.

Longtime Kroger full-timers believe corporate realized their emergency plan to deal with a strike simply wasn’t tenable. For example, job listings on Indeed seeking temp Kroger retail associates (scabs) popped up this week, but 1059 members believe the response was tepid at best.

Over 12,000 strong, 1059 members are also confident that Kroger’s emergency strike plan – having managers and scabs run the stores – would have failed, and that customers themselves would soon be in an uproar.

“They gave management cashier numbers today so they can run a register,” said one longtime Kroger worker on Wednesday to the Free Press. “But none of them have ever ran register. And not just standing at a register for eight hours. They would have to do it all, every position in the store.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic the Free Press has been speaking with Kroger grocery store workers as these frontliners weathered the most stressful years of their careers. True, corporate gave them “hero pay,” but the small hikes in hourly pay or one-time bonuses was far from enough when showing up five to six days a week, for eight hours day, to work in a super spreader setting.

Worse, is how the Cincinnati-based grocery store giant Kroger, which now rivals Walmart, told the Motley Fool earlier this year it can generate over $4.2 billion of operating profit in 2022 compared to $3.5 billion in 2021.

What can't be denied is how the pandemic and inflation have been great for Kroger – at least for corporate, its board members, and shareholders, such as BlackRock, which earns hundreds-of-millions in annual Kroger dividends, but hasn’t worked a day in their lives inside a Kroger.

Pictured above are what Kroger workers believe is corporate’s squadron of private jets. On the private Facebook page Kroger Workers Rank-and-File Forum, union members confirmed this ownership through an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) registry.

“Three of those Bombardier Challenger 300s – which sell for around $25,000,000 each, new – from what (we’ve) found,” stated a post.

Another post says Kroger corporate may actually own five Bombardier Challenger 300s.

Kroger corporate offered UFCW 1059 members a .65 cent raises in 2022, .50 cent raises in 2023, and $.65 cents raises in 2024 under its new contract.