Will Kroger increase minimum wage? What’s really going on

After Amazon increased its minimum wage to $15, local grocers like Kroger are defending their wage practices.

"Our starting wages are higher than $15 when you look at warehouse locations," Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen told WCPO in an interview at the company's annual investor meeting Oct. 30. "When you look at our stores, our average hourly rate is just shy of $14 plus we have pension benefits and health care benefits and all those things."

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Kroger just held an event in late October to hire 400 new associates in the Dayton and Cincinnati division. Clerks have starting minimum wages of $10 an hour. Deli and bakery workers will start at $11 per hour and third-shift workers start at $12 an hour.

Earlier this year, Kroger announced new employee benefits including higher wages, more generous retirement plans and associate benefits. The popular grocer currently has more than 110 stores between the Dayton and Cincinnati areas and employs about 20,000 associates in the division.

Tim Massa, group vice president of human resources, told Wall Street analysts Oct. 30 that Kroger’s average hourly wage increased 3.2 percent to $14.47 in the last year. Its employee turnover rate also declined in the same period, he said.


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