WASHINGTON, DC– Today, the Kroger Co.and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Unionannounced a new increase to the pay and benefits for more than 21,000 grocery workersat Kroger storesacross Georgia.
This victory for more than 460,000 Kroger grocery workers nationwidewas secured by UFCW, which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries. UFCW welcomed the action by Kroger as an essential investment in grocery workers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Following talks between UFCW, America’s largest food and retail union, and Kroger, UFCW is proud to join the company today in announcing a $2 per hour wage increase, additional emergency paid leave, new workplace safety measures, and other critical worker protections,” saidUFCW International President Marc Perrone. “Working together, UFCW and Kroger have listened to workers and customers across the country to identify the most urgent needs and determine the best way to support these hardworking men and women on the front lines who are serving our communities every day throughout this national crisis.”
“Our associates have displayed the true actions of a hero, working tirelessly on the frontlines to ensure everyone has access to affordable, fresh food and essentials during this national emergency,” said Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen. “The Hero Bonus is just one more way we continue to convey our thanks and gratitude not only to our existing associates but also to the more than 30,000 new hires who have joined in the past two weeks and those who will soon join the Kroger Family of Companies.”
UFCW and Kroger announced the following increases to pay, benefits, and protections for frontline associates across the country:
- $2 Per Hour Pay Increasewhich will be paid to hourly frontline associates in retail stores, manufacturing plants, distribution centers, central fills, pharmacies and contact call centers for the next three weeks at which point UFCW and Kroger will revisit discussions.
- Providing Emergency Paid Leave: This ensures that any associates who are affected by COVID-19 – whether experiencing symptoms and self-isolating, diagnosed or placed in quarantine – can recover with the financial support they need.
- Additional Cleaning and Sanitizingprotocols which include allowing associates to wash their hands and sanitize their registers every 30 minutes.
Shortened Store Operating Hoursto provide ample time to allow restocking, cleaning, and to provide appropriate rest
- and relief for associates.
- Installing plexiglass partitionsat check lanes, pharmacy and Starbucks registers across each store.
- Adding floor decals to promote physical distancingat check lanes and other counters.
Additional Associate Support and Resources
In addition to the $2 per hour pay increase, UFCW and Kroger have worked together to take several additional actions to support associates, including:
- Earlier Access to Pay: Beginning next week, the Kroger Family of Companies is adding ExpressPay – a new benefit that allows most hourly associates to access some of their pay faster, putting money in their pockets sooner than usual.
- Financial Assistance for Childcare and Other Needs: Kroger will make $5 million available for those facing hardship, including lack of access to childcare and for those considered high-risk, due to COVID-19 through the Kroger Family of Companies Helping Hands fund.
- Employee Hotline: Kroger will offer an associate hotline to answer benefit questions quickly.
- Expanded Health Care Services: Kroger will provide access to mental health services and other benefits to support associates’ mental and physical well-being during this stressful time.