The Kroger Co.’s Columbus division today announced associates working at stores in the region have ratified a new labor agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1059.

The Columbus division agreement raises starting wages to at least $10 per hour and accelerates wage progressions to $11 an hour after one year of service. It also includes a premium increase for night shift work.

“A key driver of Restock Kroger is talent development and we are committed to investing in our associates. We are investing significantly in wages in certain markets across the country,” said Tim Massa, Kroger senior vice president of human resources and labor relations. “Our Feed Your Future educational assistance program is another way we are investing in our associates. Nearly 2,000 associates across the company have taken advantage of this program since its launch earlier this year. Kroger is a place where you can come for a career with promise.”

The Columbus contract was set to expire in August 2020. Kroger is accelerating its previously announced $500 million invest in associate wages, training and development as part of Restock Kroger, the company’s plan to serve America through food inspiration and uplift. The new Columbus agreement is one of several contracts recently ratified.

The Local 1059 contract covers more than 13,000 associates working at 83 stores in Columbusand surrounding areas.

“UFCW Local 1059 is pleased to have negotiated a new contract in mid-term that secures better wages, continues to provide affordable health care and provides a voice for our hardworking Kroger members,” said Randy Quickel, president of UFCW Local 1059.

“This new contract provides significant pay increases, maintains affordable Kroger-sponsored health care and a pension to support associates’ retirement,” said Dan De La Rosa, president of Kroger’s Columbus division. “This agreement comes after thoughtful and productive work by both the company and union bargaining committees. I want to thank our dedicated associates for supporting this agreement and for the excellent, uplifting service they provide to our customers every day.”

Source: Kroger