January 26, 2007: Eight hundred Kroger Teamsters in Louisville, Ky. are still fighting for their jobs. On Jan. 13, Local 89 members voted unanimously to approve a strike if Kroger goes ahead with plans to outsource its Kentucky Distribution Center.
As we reported in the last issue of Convoy, Kroger wants to outsource the management of its Louisville facility to two third-party logistics companies: Transervice Logistics would take over the trucking operation, while Zenith Logistics would get the warehouse.
As we go to press, Kroger still has not completed the sale of the facility, which began in October. Local 89 has broken off negotiations with Kroger over the transfer and is preparing for a strike when the company completes the sale.
Kroger may attempt to complete the deal with Transervice before selling the warehouse—a move some Teamsters see as an attempt to break the union.
“It’s getting nasty,” said Mark “Gator” Horsley, a Teamster at the facility. “The company is trying to split us by selling off the truck side first. But if one goes, we’ll all go out.”
Nathan Perrett, a Kroger Teamster in Local 89, blamed the outsourcing on the incompetence of management: “Management has been running the place down and nobody is holding their feet to the fire. But when something happens, it’s the employees who take the fall.
“Everybody is sticking together. We’re ready to do what we’ve got to do to protect our jobs.”