UPDATE: Kroger Union Workers Reject Contract Offer

Update: 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10

11,000 regional Kroger workers voted to reject a contract offer from the Cincinnati-based grocery giant, and that vote could lead to a strike.

If you couldn't read their faces after voting, you could tell what union members thought about Kroger's contract by reading what was in their hands.

"There's a lot of people that are outraged," said union member Charlie Rose.

Especially over salaries, and paying more for health care. By rejecting this contract, workers are giving their union leaders the right to strike when they see fit, a decision that could make things a little hairy in the stores.

"You're talking about 11,000 people in 75 stores in the greater cincinnati area, and those 11,000 people have a huge impact," said Brigid Kelly, of UFCW Local 1099.

Like putting a dent in the local economy, if these workers walk out.

Kroger says it has a plan to keep stores running if that happens, though they would not give any specifics, or comment on the possibility of a strike.

The union says it's quite possible that during a strike, customers would have fewer options when shopping.

"We have some truck drivers in the teamsters union who make delivery to Kroger stores," said Kelly.

And if those drivers refuse to cross the picket line, she says certain products may not be delivered to local Kroger stores.

The union also warns that shoppers will get poor customer service.

"We're the people that take care of them every week, it's not the people in the office that take care of them, it's us," said Rose.

"We don't want to go on strike. It's bad for our members, it's bad for our community and it's bad for Kroger company. And so we're hopeful of reaching a good, solid agreement that benefits our members," said Kelly.

Original story:

(CINCINNATI) -- Union workers with Cincinnati based Kroger may vote to strike on Wednesday.

They'll decide on a proposed contract at 5 meetings happening around in the Tri-State.

About 11,000 union members will vote on a three-year deal that shifts more health care costs to them, and calls for separate pay scales in Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

The company says it's the best healthcare plan in this region compared to other grocery stores, but union leadership say Kroger is unrealistic about the needs of working families.

"We anticipate a fair proposal that union members are happy with at this point there is nothing on the table that we can take back to membership to feel good about," said union member Linda Welbourne.

The union is pushing for members to reject the offer.

If that happens negotiations will continue until the contract extension expires on Nov. 3.

The vote today doesn't mean they'll strike. It just authorizes them to do so.

Voting starts at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning and continues through 7 p.m.