In this file:
· UFCW calls for grocers to extend COVID-19 emergency pay plans
· Kroger provides $130 million in 'thank you' pay for associates
UFCW calls for grocers to extend COVID-19 emergency pay plans
Union says at least 65 grocery workers have died from COVID-19
Michael Browne and Russell Redman, Supermarket News
May 15, 2020
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union on Friday sent a letter to 49 CEOs of top U.S. supermarket chains — including Walmart, Costco, Whole Foods and many others — condemning them for a failure to extend emergency pay and protections for grocery workers who are working on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.
Retail and grocery industry observers are keeping a close watch on worker compensation as federal, state and local governments look to reopen businesses and public facilities and restart their economies — even as health authorities say the coronavirus threat remains amid stronger safety and social distancing measures. In the grocery retail sector, some companies have extended $2-per-hour bonus payments for store associates and other workers through May, while others have not announced extensions.
As of May 15, the UFCW estimates that at least 65 grocery workers have died and 9,810 workers have become sick or been exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The UFCW is the largest food and retail union in the United States with 1.3 million members.
In the letter, UFCW International President Marc Perrone urged retailers to reverse their decisions to end so-called hazard pay for their employees, and to publicly recognize that the health risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to cost lives all across the country.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, many grocery retailers have implemented emergency pay and protections for grocery workers who are working on the frontlines. Most of those programs included $2 per hour wage increases for hourly workers, along with bonuses.
Now expanding the union’s efforts across the grocery retail landscape, UFCW President Perrone (left) said in his letter to supermarket owners...
Kroger provides $130 million in 'thank you' pay for associates
Retailer will also continue paid emergency leave during COVID-19 crisis
Michael Browne,Supermarket News
May 15, 2020
The Kroger Co. has earmarked $130 million for special Thank You Pay to hourly grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates to acknowledge their dedication to maintaining safe, clean and stocked stores.
The Thank You Pay bookends an Appreciation Pay first provided to frontline workers for their efforts at the start of the pandemic in March. It also follows multiple Hero Bonuses that were paid in April through mid-May, with a final payment by May 23.
The one-time Thank You Pay, which will be $400 for qualified full-time associates and $200 for qualified part-time associates, will be paid out in two installments on May 30 and June 18.
"Our associates have been instrumental in feeding America while also helping to flatten the curve during the initial phases of the pandemic,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. “To recognize and thank our associates for their incredible work during this historic time, we offered special pay in March, April and May.”
He continued,"As the country moves toward reopening, we will continue to safeguard our associates' health and well-being and recognize their work. At the same time, we will continue running a sustainable business that provides steady employment and opportunities to learn and grow for over half a million associates."
As part of its ongoing investment in associate and customer safety, Kroger also announced Friday that it will continue its COVID-19 Emergency Leave guidelines to provide paid time off to associates most directly affected by the virus or experiencing related symptoms...