As we enter into the Holiday Season, we reflect on the year that’s coming to an end and plan for the one upcoming. We spend time with family and friends, exchange stories and gifts but most of all, count the blessings we’ve been given.

Leon and I also use this time to reflect on how Local 1996 fared in preserving and improving our union family. We work tirelessly to represent you and to uphold the standards and values that we all believe in.

During 2018, we have handled many negotiations, grievances and arbitrations, fighting hard for our brothers and sisters. The work and issues are plentiful, but fighting for our rights is a labor of love.

Union and company representatives come to the table with particular wants and needs. Quite often, the needs are specific to the person bringing the concern to the table. Sometimes the union and the company have the same interest. Healthcare is a good example of this. We both want to keep our members healthy while lowering the cost of healthcare.

Biometric Screening has become a tool that will help achieve this. This is a measurement of physical attributes, such as height, weight, blood pressure and more. Understanding these numbers helps your medical professionals to measure and evaluate your potential health risks and allow for preventative treatments.

In our Kroger contract, and others that are part of the UFCW & Employers Health and Welfare Fund, this workplace wellness process is being incorporated.

Depending on your specific contract, starting in 2020, Biometric Screenings will be a mandatory part of your healthcare coverage. For those under the Kroger contract, this screening must be done between January and October 2019 for your 2020 coverage. Please be sure to get this done!

Not only is the screening process beneficial to your health, it also saves the Healthcare Fund money. We are doing our part in keeping healthcare cost down.

Eliminating unnecessary Emergency Room visits is another way we can save our families and our insurance fund excessive costs.  An ER visit is roughly 10x more costly to the Fund than a visit to your primary physician, urgent care or a visit to the Little Clinic at Kroger.

Working together and looking out for one and other is something that our membership has always done well.

It is always an honor to see how our Union comes together when common goals are shared. As we prepare for the upcoming year, we would like for you to know how grateful we are of the support you give to Local 1996. As always, we will strive to do the best job possible in representing our membership.

On behalf of Local 1996’s Leadership, Executive Board and Representatives, we wish you and your loved ones a blessed and happy Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year!