Major US Grocery Chain Being Sued For Stealing Employee Wages

Kroger is one of America’s oldest and biggest grocery store chains. It has 2,720 stores across the country and had a revenue of $138.7 billion in 2022.

Though now Kroger is facing big problems because a large number of its employees in one union say it has stolen their wages. These employees are now suing the chain.

What’s the Lawsuit?

The lawsuit is being put through by UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) members in five states: Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

Altogether, the UFCW is home to 13,000 workers. They declare they have gotten over 1,000 complaints from their union members saying they haven’t been paid what they were owed.

They also have had hundreds of complaints about too much taken off in tax, the wrong amounts subtracted for health care, and many other problems.

Specifically, the union is now suing Kroger for breaking its contract with them and the employees they represent. The lawsuit will now proceed through the National Labor Relations Board.

Union Accuses Kroger of ‘Wage Theft’

UFCW chief for this chapter Mark Federici says Kroger is intentionally engaging in “wage theft” and that this is simply “stealing.” He also said he suspects the true amount of inconsistencies and problems in the paychecks far exceeds the 1,000 or so complaints they have received.

After all, some employees may not have time to look closely at the deductions and amounts on their paychecks or may not notice problems after a quick scan of the numbers.

Federici says all “avenues” have been pursued to tell Kroger about the problems and get them to fix them, but they haven’t done anything to fix it.

Calling Kroger’s lack of attention to the matter “unacceptable,” Federici says the “refusal” to do anything to fix their payroll system must be punished and remedied.

A Kroger Worker’s Story

The story of one worker named Donald Austin is a prime example of these accusations. Austin claims he didn’t get any paycheck for over a month of working forty-plus hours per week.

He told them this month remained unpaid, but they didn’t do anything to fix it. Another worker named Lori Dalton says she had twice as much health insurance copay taken off her pay stubs, losing hundreds in the process. Kroger did nothing to fix it.

Federici says these and other stories show the “outrageous” and “egregious” behavior of Kroger. He said the problem has been looked into closely and actually turns out to be “national” and not just in these states.

Every action in the lawsuit will be taken to make Kroger pay out each cent it owes to these employees and fix the issues that are leading to these kinds of widespread problems.

The Bottom Line

Workers work hard. They deserve to be paid.

This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.