The Kroger Co. agreed to reopen more than 40 of the 70 Eastern
Michigan supermarkets it had closed a month earlier. About 2,800 of the
5,000 workers who had lost their jobs as a result of the store closings
were expected to be rehired. Kroger said the shutdowns were necessary
because compensation levels for store clerks and for meat cutters were
not competitive with those at nonunion supermarkets in the area.
The approved settlement between the company and several United Food
and Commercial Workers locals called for 5- to 13-percent pay cuts as
well as cuts in paid vacation and sick leave days.
So far this year, Kroger had closed about 90 stores in Louisiana,
Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and compensation reduction
negotiations were underway in Central Indiana. Kroger’s 1983
profit fell 12 percent, to $126 million, and the company dropped to
number 2 in sales, behind Safeway Stores, even though its sales rose to
$15 billion, from $12 billion.