Kroger Co. is the largest supermarket chain and third largest retail company in the world. In Southern California, Kroger owns Ralphs and Food 4 Less.
Kroger implemented the Hero Pay last month, providing a $2 per hour bonus to its employees working during the coronavirus pandemic. However, Kroger announced that starting May 17th, it will eliminate the bonus.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) international union represents over 100,000 grocery workers in several states and around 55,000 of those are Kroger stores employees. Hundreds of these workers have already tested positive for COVID-19.
The UFCW and presidents of local unions have jointly sent a letter to Kroger Co. CEO Rodney McMullen to extend the Hero Pay to the workers through the end of May, keeping in mind that the Hero Pay must remain for as long as the pandemic continues. The union is also asking that Kroger be more effective and rigorous in limiting the number for shoppers inside the store and having all shoppers and workers wear masks or face coverings.
In their letter, the presidents noted:
“The members of the UFCW that work for you are stocking shelves, bagging groceries, cleaning, and running cash registers while wearing masks and gloves to try to save their lives and the lives of their families. They do this every day to protect themselves form customers who are not required to wear the same PPE.
The suggestions of social distancing, one shopper per household, having every other check lane open, and customer limits are not enforced.”
In a statement released by Kroger, the company stated that it will continue to evaluate its employees’ needs as they evolve and keep in balance what is best for their employees, the customers, and the community at large.