In a letter to the Vice President of Labor and Associate Relations at Kroger, President McLaughlin joined other Region 8 local union presidents in calling on Kroger to extend the Hero Pay and recognize the commitment of our Essential Workers.
Read the text below or download as a PDF.
May 7, 2020
Mr. Jon McPherson
1014 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
As a follow up to our conversation on Tuesday, May 5, regarding the pivoting from Hero Pay to testing for workers and the safety issues inside the stores, we, the Presidents of the UFCW Local Unions in Region 8, would like to express our disappointment in not only the news of such a “pivot” but in signaling the end of Hero Pay.
We continue to ask that you reconsider extending this pay to your grocery workers who have proven that they are essential to the very survival of communities across the country. We are also concerned by the notion that Hero Pay would “pivot” to testing; we believe that both Hero Pay and testing should be provided to our members, your associates.
Statements by Kroger about “starting the path to recovery” and “beginning to see a return to normal” do not reflect the reality of the increasing number of cases and deaths across the country. No one knows how long this will last and no one knows what normal will look like when the threat of COVID-19 is over.
There is no path to recovery from a virus that has no cure. The members of the UFCW who work for you are stocking shelves, bagging groceries, cleaning, and running cash registers while wearing masks and gloves to try to save their lives and the lives of their families.
The need for social distancing, one shopper per household, having every other check lane open, and customer limits are inconsistently enforced. Anxiety continues to grow as people in communities across the country miss paychecks, and shortages of cleaning supplies, sanitizer, toilet paper, and now meat occur.
As the states across the nation begin to ease restrictions, more not less people will be going into the stores, increasing our members’ exposure to the public and their chances of catching COVID- 19. Steve Yancey described this as “a return to normal” in an email; however, the situation in the stores is anything but normal.
This is no time for the Company to turn its back on the very people who’ve gotten Kroger through this pandemic thus far with no end in sight. We ask that you continue the Hero Pay for the foreseeable future.
We look forward to hearing back from you over our concerns over the Hero Pay, testing for all workers, and safety concerns within the stores that we discussed on the May 5th call. Please feel free to contact Region 8 Director, Bryan Wynn (firstname.lastname@example.org) to re-convene a call for all of us to continue to discuss these important issues.