Two-thirds of Kroger workers struggle with food, housing costs: survey

About two-thirds of Kroger employees struggle to afford basic costs of living as a result of lower wages and part-time work, according to a report published Tuesday. 

Sixty-three percent of workers surveyed in an Economic Roundtable report stated that they did not make enough money to pay for basic expenses every month. 

The report showed that over the last 20 years, working conditions have declined significantly for Kroger employees. Specifically, the report said 44 percent of Kroger workers were not able to pay rent and 39 percent were unable to pay for groceries.

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"Kroger’s current low-wage, part-time workforce strategy relies on poorly-paid, part-time workers with constantly changing schedules," the report stated. 

Economic Roundtable found that Kroger is the sole employer for 86 percent of their employees, meaning that the majority of workers at Kroger stores do not have an additional source of income. 

"Working full-time to earn a living wage would require Kroger to pay $22 per hour for an annual living wage total of $45,760," the report stated. 

"The average annual earnings of Kroger workers, however, equal $29,655. This is $16,105 short of the annual income needed to pay for basic necessities required for the living wage."

Additionally, 14 percent of Kroger workers are currently homeless or have been homeless in the past year.

Over three-quarters of workers were also food insecure, a figure seven times the rate of food insecurity seen in the general population, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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The report surveyed 36,795 Kroger workers from parts of Washington, Colorado and California and received 10,287 responses. 

In a press release on Wednesday, Kroger called the report "misleading" and said it was based on "flawed data," citing another ndp|analytics report commissioned by The Kroger Family of Companies. 

"Based on the organization's actual data and official government data, our findings show the organization pays hourly associates higher wages and benefits compared to its peers in the overall retail industry," the release said. 

Kroger added that the Economic Roundtable report was "conducted with limited data of select communities to mischaracterize The Kroger Family of Companies workers and their compensation packages."

"Any argument that The Kroger Family of Companies does not pay its workers fairly and top market rate is not supported by actual evidence," Nam Pham, who co-authored the ndp|analytics report, concluded.