the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist
“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx
Jan 17, 2022
In Denver, Colorado, more than 8,000 Kroger workers walked out on strike on Jan. 12. These 8,000 workers are demanding safe working conditions and higher pay as the Omicron wave rages and inflation is eating away at their wages.
These workers are not alone. The Kroger workers in Southern California are in the same boat. The same union that represents the strikers in Colorado, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), commissioned a survey of its 33,000 members in Southern California. The survey found 2 out of 3 of these workers struggle to afford their rent, food, and other basic needs due to the low wages and part-time schedules.
The survey revealed many workers facing horrible conditions. Wages have been driven down by more than 10% since 1990. Many workers can’t afford cars and often walk home for miles due to the odd hours and the lack of public transportation. Nearly 14% of the 33,000 workers are homeless. Some sleep in the parking lot of the very store they work in.
Kroger runs thousands of supermarkets throughout the country. Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Harris Teeter are other brands owned by Kroger. It is one of the largest grocery chains in terms of revenue, making 135 billion dollars in sales last year.
During the pandemic, Kroger’s profits have skyrocketed. It has seen an additional profit of 6.8 billion dollars in 2020. That is a 98% increase from 2019.
The contract between these 33,000 workers and Kroger expires on March 6. The workers in Southern California have every reason to fight, like their 8,000 brothers and sisters in Colorado. Workers can use the power of numbers to spread their struggle and to bring in other layers of the working class.