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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Central States Pension Fund won a favorable ruling in federal court against the Kroger Co. that will result in a judgment of nearly $13 million to the fund and its participants, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said yesterday.
In a press release dispatched yesterday by the labor union, it said Judge David Coar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled on March 30 that new hires at Kroger's Louisville, Little Rock, Houston and Dallas DCs, as well as its Detroit dairy, that the retailer had designated "casual" workers were actually offered permanent jobs by the company, and as a result were eligible for pension benefits.
The ruling, if it stands, would provide pension credits to thousands of current and former Teamster workers. The judgment awards contributions and audit costs of $3.4 million and interest and attorney's fees in the amount of $9.8 million, according to a report in the Cincinnati Business Courier.
"This is a major victory for these workers, the Teamsters and the Central
States Funds," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters general president, in a statement. "Kroger tried to pull a stunt on these workers and Central States fought for these workers and
protected their pension rights."