Kroger workers in Virginia and West Virginia stage caravan protest to extend ‘hero pay”

Virginia Beach

Photo courtesy: Virginia AFL-CIO. June 10, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Kroger workers in Virginia and West Virginia staged a car caravan protest Wednesday over the company’s decision to end hazard pay.

On June 10 at 4 p.m., Kroger workers in eight cities from both Virginia and West Virginia are protested to extend “hero pay” until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

The company offered “hero pay” program for its workers who were risking possible exposure to coronavirus to keep stores up and running, however it quietly got canceled last month.

Hourly frontline workers at Kroger later received a special ‘Thank You Pay’ bonus for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

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.”

Caravans are being organized in eight locations throughout Virginia and West Virginia. In the Hampton Roads region, one was held at the Lowe’s at 2403 Virginia Beach Boulevard.

In a statement to 10 On Your Side, the group says, “The health and safety of our associates, customers and communities is and will continue to be our top priority.”

You can read the full statement below:

Kroger has invested more than $800 million to reward and safeguard associates since March. This consists of hero pay, appreciation pay and thank you pay bonuses paid to its hourly full-time and part-time associates to recognize and reward the team for their commitment to customers. To combat the spread of Covid-19 and keep associates and customers safe while shopping in stores, we have implemented capacity limits and equipped all stores with plexiglass barriers, social distancing decals and sanitizers as well as purchased personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves and face shields. 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, including 18,000 associates in the Mid-Atlantic region. The health and safety of our associates, customers and communities is and will continue to be our top priority.

Allison McGee | Corporate Affairs Manager with Kroger Mid-Atlantic

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