business news in context, analysis with attitude

Good piece in the Denver Post about how, as unionized supermarket chain employees vote on the “last, best” offer made by Safeway, Albertsons and Kroger’s King Soopers, one of the groups at risk is made up of retirees from the chains.

The fund that helps to offset health care costs for those retirees (who already pay more than $500 as month per couple in health insurance premiums) apparently is about to go bankrupt – and if that happens, more than a thousand retirees could be left without any health benefits.

The union says that without an increase in payments into the fund by the chains, the fund will go bankrupt. The contract being voted on by the union does not contain any increase in chain payments. And the retirees do not get a vote on the new, proposed contract.
KC's View:
Without passing judgment on the merits of the last, best contract offer, we do think that there is something about all this that suggests a devaluing of the employees’ contribution to a company’s success. We’re not suggesting that the companies bankrupt themselves paying store employees, but we think that the big problem with all these labor problems is that the chains look at front-line staffers as costs, not assets.

That kind of attitude – whether purposeful or accidental – always gets communicated to customers…and diminishes the store experience, giving them an excuse to go elsewhere.