They’ll still wear masks and put themselves at risk to make sure the rest of us can eat, but Fred Meyer grocery workers saw the end of “hero pay” May 22. Despite objections from United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Kroger-affiliated stores across the United States ended the $2 an hour bonus they had began paying since March. Instead, the company announced it will pay one-time “Thank You Pay” bonuses of $400 for full-time workers and $200 for part-time, paid out in installments on May 30 and June 18.
“They’re still making people wear masks, so the danger is obviously still ongoing,” said Miles Eshaia, spokesperson for Tigard-based UFCW Local 555.
Meanwhile, Albertsons Companies extended its $2 an hour “Appreciation Pay” through at least June 13 for all 20 of the chains it owns, including Safeway, Albertsons and Haggen.
The grocery industry is booming. Sales are up dramatically with the closure of most restaurants, and grocery prices rose 2.6% on average in April, the largest one-month jump in 46 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Kroger has hired more than 100,000 workers since mid-March.