What is the difference between the current South-Central health care fund and the company’s proposed K-plan?
The biggest difference between the current South-Central health care fund and the health care plan the company is proposing is that under the company’s plan, they will have complete control of the fund and how benefits are distributed.
Right now, any decisions made about your health care are determined by a board of trustees from both your union and the company, so that there is a fair balance when it comes to making changes that impact your health care. With the company’s K-Plan, they will have direct and sole control to make any cuts in benefits or increases in costs.
Can the UFCW guarantee that cuts won’t be made to the current plan?
Kroger says its health plan provides “secure, affordable health care benefits for associates for the life of the contract.” The Union is proposing the same guarantee of benefits under your current Trust Fund (referred to as a Maintenance of Benefits or MOB). Kroger could agree to do the same with your Trust Fund benefits, rather than with a company controlled plan.
Why is the company not willing to improve the current health care plan funding?
Kroger has seen a surge in profits this year, with the pandemic bringing in $1.2 billion MORE than they anticipated for the quarter. Kroger has also spent $422 million on stock share buybacks and paid shareholders $258 million in dividends over the past 6 months.
This hardly seems like a time when there should be concerns about a funding shortage, especially when it comes to something as critical as health care during a national and global health crisis like COVID -19.
Kroger could easily afford higher company contribution rates that reflect the hours you have worked during this crisis, making sure stores stay open and our communities and customers are served.
The hard work and sacrifices you are making by showing up to work every day during a pandemic deserves to be rewarded, you have earned and deserve affordable health care and there is no reason the company cannot help with that.
What happens to all the money in the current fund’s reserves if everything gets switched over?
The company wants to deplete the Trust Fund’s reserves by stopping company contributions before the end of this year. Under the company’s proposed plan, there will be no reserves. The money will be kept by the company and in sole control of the company. Currently, Kroger pays a contribution based on an hourly rate that goes into the current Trust Fund and we need an amount to keep reserves healthy, in the event of any unexpected changes.