Kroger and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union announced Wednesday that more than 29,000 grocery workers at Kroger stores across Texas would receive an increase to their pay and benefits.
UFCW, which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries across the country, secured this pay increase that will affect more than 460,000 Kroger grocery workers nationwide.
According to UFCW, the union has been working with Kroger to ensure that grocery workers can provide necessary food and supplies to their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Other grocery stores, including Safeway, Tom Thumb, Albertsons, Randalls, and United Supermarkets, have announced similar pay raises for workers during the coronavirus outbreak.
The increases to pay, benefits, and protections announced by UFCW and Kroger are as follows:
- $2 Per Hour Pay Increase which 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 to ensure that any associates who are affected by COVID-19 – whether they are experiencing symptoms and self-isolating, diagnosed, or placed in quarantine – can recover with the necessary financial support.
- Additional Cleaning and Sanitizing Protocols which include allowing associates to wash their hands and sanitize their registers every 30 minutes.
- Shortened Store Operating Hours to provide sufficient time for restocking, cleaning, and rest for associates.
- Installing Plexiglass Partitions at checkout lanes, pharmacy, and Starbucks registers in each store.
- Adding Floor Decals to Promote Physical Distancing at checkout lanes and other counters.
- Earlier Access to Pay: Beginning next week, the Kroger Family of Companies is adding ExpressPay, allowing most hourly associates faster access to their pay.
- Financial Assistance for Childcare and Other Needs: Kroger will make $5 million available for those facing hardship due to COVID-19, including lack of access to childcare and for those considered high-risk, 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.
“Today’s increase in pay and benefits is a good first step in our ongoing conversations with Kroger to keep customers and workers safe in stores during this crisis,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said. “We look forward to continuing to work with Kroger to strengthen support and protections for these essential workers on the front lines of this outbreak as they continue to serve families across the country.”