Smith's, union reach accord

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By Arin McKenna

The Kroger Co. Smith’s Division announced on Friday that it had reached an agreement with United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1564, which represents Smith’s workers throughout New Mexico.
According to UFCW Local 1564 President Greg Frazier, 86 percent of Smith’s associates across the state ratified the four-year contract.
“The members and I feel that we got something that was fair,” Frazier said.
“We’d always like something more, of course, but that’s negotiations.”
According to Frazier, the key issues resolved to the union’s satisfactions were wages, insurance and some improvements regarding vacation and holiday pay for workers hired after 2005.
Frazier would not go into specifics, but he did answer questions regarding some of the main points of contention during negotiations.
“Our biggest issue, besides insurance, was making improvements for those employees hired after ’05,” Frazier said.
The union had previously made concessions regarding pay and benefits for workers hired after 2005 (73 percent of Smith’s workforce) in order to help Smith’s compete with Walmart.

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