Will contribute to insurance David Ranii, Staff Writer
About 2,000 Kroger employees in North Carolina will have money deducted from their paychecks for health insurance coverage for the first time ever under a new contract ratified by union members.
However, the contributions for full-time employees — which range from $5 a month to $15 a month — don’t kick in until Aug. 1, 2009, for current employees. New hires will start contributing to their health insurance coverage beginning Aug. 1, 2007.
The Ohio-based grocery chain also had proposed a $100-a-month health insurance fee for spouses who were entitled to coverage through their jobs but chose their spouses’ plan instead. But that didn’t make it into the contract.
Health care coverage was the key issue during negotiations between the union and management. Kroger employees have been making co-payments for prescriptions and visits to doctors, but no health insurance expenses have been deducted from their paychecks.
Jim Papian, a spokesman for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 204, said workers also obtained some improvements in benefits. They included improvements in life insurance coverage, preventive care, vision coverage and the maximum amount of hospital care covered.
Workers will receive wage increases in each year of the four-year contract, Papian said. He declined to discuss details, as did Kroger. (more…)