Kroger tops 100,000 hirings since COVID-19 emergency declared

CEO Rodney McMullen: ‘In the coming months, we know our associates’ needs will continue to evolve’


Russell Redman, Supermarket News  

May 14, 2020


The Kroger Co. said it has hired more than 100,000 workers over the past eight weeks, the period since President Trump declared coronavirus a national emergency.


Kroger said Thursday the new employees — including displaced workers from hard-hit business sectors such as restaurants, hotels and food service distributors — have expanded its overall work force to more than 560,000 associates. The Cincinnati-based grocer noted that, during the COVID-19 outbreak, the extra hands have enabled the company to maintain safe access to fresh, affordable food and other staple items for customers of its 2,757 supermarkets in 35 states and the District of Columbia.


“Throughout the pandemic, Kroger’s top priority has been to provide and maintain a safe environment for our associates and customers with open stores, comprehensive e-commerce solutions and an efficiently operating supply chain,” Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in a statement. “Since March, we have invested to reward our associates and safeguard our associates, customers and communities.”


Since March, Kroger has invested $700 million in bonus pay for associates and protections for workers, customers and communities. The retailer said these investments were included in a business guidance update on April 1, when the company reported a 30% jump in identical-store sales for March as consumers stockpiled groceries to shelter at home.


“In the coming months, we know that our associates’ needs will continue to evolve and change, and our commitment is that we will continue to listen, be responsive and make decisions that advance the needs of our associates, customers, communities and business,” McMullen added.


In the near term, those decisions will include whether to further extend bonus pay. On March 31, Kroger announced a “hero bonus” of $2 an hour for all frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates for time worked from March 29 to April 18. That was later extended to May 2 and then to May 17. The company also paid out a one-time bonus of $300 to full-time associates and $150 to part-time associates on April 3.


The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union has continued to press Kroger...


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