Kroger workers who are risking their lives to keep the grocery store going will no longer receive ‘hero pay.’
“What Kroger giveth, Kroger taketh away. The national grocery-store chain will end a $2 per hour ‘hero pay’ bonus for workers on May 17, the United Food and Commercial Workers union announced on Thursday. Kroger only implemented the raise last month; the pandemic, meanwhile, shows no sign of ending, and the risks for essential workers remain very real. In late April, UFCW announced that at least 30 of the grocery-store workers it represents have died of COVID-19. Four Kroger employees died from the virus in Michigan alone.
‘Kroger is the biggest retail grocer in the US, possibly the world, and during this pandemic it has experienced record profits because families and communities rely on grocery workers to feed themselves and their families. Taking away this hero pay from these essential workers disregards their continued heroism as they serve their communities in crisis,’ Kim Cordova, the president of UFCW Local 7, said in a press release. A spokesperson for the union confirmed to Intelligencer that Kroger’s policy change will take effect nationwide.
In a statement to Intelligencer, Kroger confirmed that the ‘hero bonus’ will end this month. ‘In the coming months, we know that our associates’ needs will continue to evolve and change as our country recovers,’ said Kristal Howard, a Kroger spokesperson. ‘Our commitment is that we will continue to listen and be responsive, empowering us to make decisions that advance the needs of our associates, customers, communities and business. We continuously evaluate employee compensation and benefits packages. Our average hourly wage is $15 and with benefits factored in, like health care, the hourly wage is over $20.'”
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