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Kroger employees approve new labor contract

More than 17,700 Kroger employees and union members in the company’s Cincinnati/Dayton division voted Tuesday to approve a new labor contract.

The four-year agreement, which goes in effect immediately, impacts wages, health plans and other benefits at 108 stores in Cincinnati, Dayton and Springfield. It expires June 16, 2018.

For the first time, workers in Cincinnati and Dayton share the same agreement. There were previously two separate contracts, one covering Cincinnati-area stores, and a second covering Dayton and Springfield-area stores.

By merging contracts, it makes transfers and promotions across boundaries easier while providing more job and career choices for associates, according to Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co.

“This agreement provides wage increases, affordable health care and investment in our associates’ pension fund to support their retirement,” said Sukanya Madlinger, president of Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton Division, in a statement.

She thanked employees for their service. “This agreement comes after thoughtful and productive work by both the company and union bargaining committees,” Madlinger said.

Tuesday’s ratification concludes about a year of negotiating between the union and grocer.

“We were able to reach an agreement that creates more power and more opportunity for our members in Cincinnati and Dayton,” said Lennie Wyatt, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 75, in a statement. “Our bargaining committee worked hard for months to reach a contract that guarantees wage increases every year, that provides affordable health care for members and their families, and that continues to secure pension benefits over the next decade.”

Kroger is Ohio’s third largest employer with approximately 39,000 employees statewide, according to Ohio Development Services Agency.

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