THE KROGER CO. | Living wage policy at THE KROGER CO.

Status
Filed
AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
6
Resolution details
Company ticker
KR
Resolution ask
Adopt or amend a policy
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Decent work
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Shareholder
Company sector
Consumer Staples
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
BE IT RESOLVED, shareholders ask that the board and management exercise their discretion to establish Company wage policies that are consistent with fiduciary duties and reasonably designed to provide workers with the minimum earnings necessary to meet a family’s basic needs, because Company compensation practices that fail to provide a living wage are harmful to the economy and therefore to the returns of diversified shareholders.1
Supporting statement
SUPPORTING STATEMENT
Kroger increased associates’ average hourly wage to $18/hour in 2023, suggesting its lowest paid workers earn still less. The living wage in 2022 was $25.02 per hour per worker annually for a family of four (two working adults).2 Kroger’s CEO, meanwhile, makes 671 times more than the Company’s median employee. While Kroger’s workforce is 49.6 percent female and 40.7 percent people of color, these groups compose only 31.7 percent and 26.3 percent of store leaders,3 indicating they make up a disproportionate number of employees not earning a living wage. In response to a recent survey, 75 percent of Kroger workers said they were food insecure, 14 percent said they were homeless, and 63 percent said they earned too little to cover basic expenses.4
Such inequality and disparity harm the entire economy. For example, closing the living wage gap worldwide could generate an additional $4.56 trillion every year through increased productivity and spending,5 translating to a more than 4 percent increase in annual GDP. A 2020 report found that had four key racial gaps for Black Americans—wages, education, housing, and investment—been closed in 2000, $16 trillion could have been added to the U.S. economy. Closing those gaps in 2020 could have added $5 trillion to the U.S. economy over the ensuing five years.6
By underpaying so many of its employees, Kroger may believe it will increase margins and thus financial performance. But gain in Company profit that comes at the expense of society and the economy is a bad trade for Company shareholders who are diversified and rely on broad economic growth to achieve their financial objectives. The costs and risks created by low wages and inequality will directly reduce long- term diversified portfolio returns because a drag on GDP directly reduces returns on diversified portfolios.7
This proposal asks the Board to set a Company compensation policy of paying a living wage to prevent contributing to inequality and racial/gender disparity. Kroger could achieve this Proposal’s objective by securing Living Wage for US Employer certification.8 Additionally, MIT has an online living wage calculator, or Kroger can work within frameworks promulgated by organizations such as IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative or The Living Wage Network. Kroger should use such frameworks in a manner that allows shareholders to gauge compliance and progress, while providing the Company with discretion as to how to achieve the living-wage goal.
Please vote for: Set compensation policy that optimizes portfolio value for Company shareholders –
Proposal 4*
1 https://theshareholdercommons.com/case-studies/labor-and-inequality-case-study/
2 https://livingwage.mit.edu/articles/103-new-data-posted-2023-living-wage-calculator
3 https://www.thekrogerco.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Kroger-Co-2023-ESG-Report_Final.pdf
4 https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/12/business/kroger-grocery-stores-workers-pay.html
5 https://tacklinginequality.org/files/introduction.pdf
6 https://ir.citi.com/%2FPRxPvgNWu319AU1ajGf%2BsKbjJjBJSaTOSdw2DF4xynPwFB8a2jV1FaA3Idy7vY59bOtN2lxVQ M=
7 https://www.epi.org/publication/secular-stagnation/
8 https://livingwageforus.org/becoming-certified/

How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
Kutxabank Gestion SGIIC SAU. Abstain

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