With pandemic still endangering lives, Kroger workers are outraged over the company’s decision to end hazard pay
On Wednesday, June 10th at 4:00 p.m., Kroger workers in Virginia and West Virginia are staging car caravan protests in eight cities to demand the company extend “hero pay” until the pandemic is over.
After receiving praise in the media for providing $2/hour “hero pay” to workers on the frontlines of the pandemic, Kroger quietly canceled the program last month and replaced it with a one-time “thank you” bonus. The last installment of the bonus will be paid out on June 18.
But with the pandemic still threatening their lives, Kroger workers were outraged at the announcement. Kroger union members with UFCW Local 400 recently delivered a petition with nearly 13,000 signatures from local Kroger workers to the company’s CEO calling on him to extend the hazard pay program indefinitely until the crisis is over.
“With no vaccine in sight, Kroger workers will continue to risk their health, and the health of their families and loved ones, by coming to work,” the petition read. “Unlike most other businesses, Kroger is making more than ever right now…These heroes deserve to share in the financial success they have created for Kroger.”
Last month, the UFCW estimated that more than 65 grocery workers have died as a result of the pandemic, and at least 9,810 have been infected or exposed to the deadly virus. Those numbers are likely much higher now.
Caravans are being organized in eight locations throughout Virginia and West Virginia. Protesters are meeting at each of the following locations at 4:00 p.m. to kickoff the caravan:
- Charlottesville, VA – Lowe’s, 400 Woodbrook Dr, Charlottesville, VA 22901
- Blacksburg, VA – Avelinos, 1440 S Main St Ste 110, Blacksburg, VA 24060
- Virginia Beach, VA – Lowe’s, 2403 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23454
- Richmond, VA – Dick’s Sporting Goods, 11800 W Broad St Richmond, VA 23233
- Lynchburg, VA – Big Lots, 20722 Timberlake Rd Ste A Lynchburg, VA 24502
- Beaver, WV – Hardee’s, 19 Ritter Dr, Beaver, WV 25813
- Parkersburg, WV – Old Kmart, 1050 Division St, Parkersburg, WV 26101
- Charleston, WV – Gabe’s, 5704 MacCorkle Ave SE Charleston, WV 25304
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 represents 35,000 members working in the retail food, health care, retail department store, food processing, service and other industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.