Despite weeks of demanding Kroger extend its $2/hour “hero pay” program, the company has refused – even as cases continue to mount at stores throughout our jurisdiction.
Now, instead of compensating hard-working Kroger associates on the frontlines, the company has announced plans to give workers store credit that can only be spent at Kroger stores. On Wednesday, Kroger announced a “special appreciation” program in which hourly associates active as of August 15 will receive a $100 “Thank You” credit on their loyalty cards along with 1,000 fuel points.
This is a slap in the face to every Kroger union member who has risked their life and the lives of their families to come to work and keep these stores operating.
UFCW Local 400 President Mark Federici immediately made our outrage known to the company and sent the following letter to the Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division. In the letter, Federici once again demands that Kroger immediately extend the $2/hour so-called “hero pay” program indefinitely until this crisis is over.
Read the full letter below:
Letter to Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division
To Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division:
On behalf of all of our members working at Kroger, I want to express our deep disappointment and outrage over your continued refusal to renew and extend the so-called “hero pay” program. Your latest announcement that some associates will receive a one-time $100 credit on their loyalty card along with gas points utterly ignores the urgent needs of your employees while purporting to “thank” them. Company bucks such as fuel points and loyalty cards only redeemable at your stores are a slap in the face to the hard-working men and women that have kept Kroger operating through this crisis.
Our members have risked their lives and the lives of their families to operate these stores during this pandemic, and they continue to do so. Unlike most other businesses, Kroger is making record profits right now. And it is because our members are risking their lives to come to work.
Only a short time ago, you were happy to exalt these workers as heroes. You recognized the risk they were taking and rightly compensated them through the $2.00/hour “hero pay” program. But now as these workers continue to face hazards every day, continue to get sick and continue to die, you no longer see fit to compensate them for their sacrifice. Instead, Kroger offers compensation only redeemable at Kroger stores, and a pittance at that.
Over and over again, we hear from our members that $2.00/hour hazard pay was the difference between being able to pay their bills or not, and, while not enough, at least acknowledged the risks they were taking for themselves and their families in order to serve their customers and keep food on the tables of all Americans. As we made clear in our petition signed by more than 12,000 Kroger associates and customers calling on you to extend the so-called “hero pay” program, these heroes deserve to share in the financial success they have created for Kroger.
Once again, on behalf of our members and our union, I call on you to do the right thing and extend the $2.00/hour “hero pay” program until this crisis is over.
President, UFCW Local 400
Vice President, UFCW International