Kroger hiring more workers Busy season, Big Bear closings cited as reasons
Brad McElhinny <email@example.com> Daily Mail staff
Monday December 22, 2003; 10:00 AM
Fresh off resolving a nine-week strike, Kroger is hiring new workers already.
There are plenty of reasons. The supermarket chain was in the process of hiring workers before the strike started, 70 people who were on strike did not return, this is the busiest grocery-shopping season of the year, and the closure of area Big Bear stores has boosted business.
So Kroger put a classified ad in area newspapers seeking new part-time employees.
The ads specifically invited Big Bear employees to apply, and instructed those interested to apply in person Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at any area Kroger.
Kroger definitely needs the extra help right now, but it will take a couple of months to determine if business is busy enough to keep everybody, company officials said.
"Once January rolls around, we'll see where our business stands," said Kroger spokesman Archie Fralin. "If we still need them, we'll keep them. If not, we'll have to lay some off."
Fralin estimated that area stores need 60 to 70 workers, about the same number that didn't return from the strike.
Kroger settled its strike last week after union employees voted to accept a revised offer from the company. The main issue was the employee health care plan.
Kroger promised to contribute 2.5 percent, if necessary, beyond the 8 percent increase it had already planned to contribute to the health care package. In exchange, employees accepted a Blue Cross/Blue Shield managed care plan that could cut costs.
Forty-one stores in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky reopened Dec. 15. The company decided not to reopen three stores, including one in Gauley Bridge.
"We felt good that we were able to get full enough to open," Fralin said. "Business has been extremely busy all week. We worked hard to get stocked through the holiday."
Fralin said Kroger is looking for part-time workers because the chain would consider its current part-timers first for full-time work.
"We would promote the part time before we would hire new full time," he said.
Stores have been very busy since reopening, but it will take some time to determine how much business Kroger has gained back, he said. The chain might actually gain customers because of the Big Bear shutdown.
"We have a natural spike," Fralin said. "We also acknowledge we have not gotten all of our regular business back. We hope to regain it all and more from Big Bear. There's no way to know until we go through a normal couple of weeks, and that won't be until January."
Writer Brad McElhinny
www.news.google.com Search: "Kroger hiring more workers" Select: Sort by date I read: Charleston Daily Mail, WV - 8 minutes ago
Archie Fralin said they will promote part time inion workers first before with seniority for full time, because they have too according to contract, they are have good business now and that is the reason you belong to a union because they have to promote you over new hires.