DENVER – Kroger-owned grocery stores across the West, including stores in Colorado, will eliminate “Hero Pay” for grocery workers starting May 17.
Kroger-owned grocery store workers have been receiving an extra $2.00 an hour for serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, calling the pay, “Hero Pay.”
When hearing that Hero Pay would be eliminated, seven UFCW Local Unions called on the public to support these workers in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
The unions are hoping that Kroger will maintain Hero Pay, improve store practices and provide testing to all employees.
These local unions represent more than 55,000 grocery workers at Kroger stores.
The UFCW Local Unions say they have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases among grocery worker members.
In Colorado, 39 grocery workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and one person has died from the virus.
Kim Cordova, President of UFCW Local 7, which represents more than 14,000 Kroger grocery-chain workers in Colorado and Wyoming, issued the following statement:
“In any natural or man-made disaster, grocery workers never stop. For more than two months, these workers have put their lives and their families lives at risk to protect and serve the communities they live and work in. 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.”
“Just because states start to reopen doesn’t mean the dangers from COVID are less severe. Instead, grocery workers’ jobs become more dangerous as customer traffic increases. We’re already seeing a startling uptick in the number of essential grocery workers testing positive for COVID-19. These heroes provided and served their communities without hesitation. These #EssentialHeroes are asking for fair pay and safe stores.”
“The decision by Kroger to rip away this well-deserved increase comes at the same time these essential grocery workers –American heroes — are mourning the loss of their Union brothers and sisters to COVID-19. UFCW Local 7 has already said goodbye to one fallen hero who sacrificed their life working for Kroger:
UFCW 7 of Colorado and Wyoming lost Union sister Karen Donna Haws of Brush, Colorado, a Courtesy Clerk at King Soopers owned by Kroger, on April 10th.
The seven UFCW Local unions across the West have united to bring attention to Kroger’s unjustified decision to take away Hero Pay as states reopen, encouraging customers to support grocery workers as these #EssentialHeroes continue to support them during local stay-at-home orders and the global pandemic. Locals are also continuing to call on Kroger to more effectively limit the number of shoppers in a store at one time in order to allow for safe six feet of distancing, and also have all workers and shoppers wear masks.”
The seven union locals joining together include UFCW Locals 7, 21, 324, 367, 555, 770, 1439 and IBT 38.