May 6, 2020
Dear The Kroger Company:
I am very disappointed and shocked The Kroger Company has determined the best course of action in recognizing our member’s immense sacrifices to work through a global pandemic; risk of the health and safety of both themselves and their families; experience mental anguish in serving thousands of potential COVID-19 carriers each day, would be to put an end to Hero Pay.
Many members remain on the frontlines of The Kroger Company because they do not have the means to stay home and stay safe. They arrive for their shifts, mask in hand, hand sanitizer tucked into a ready pocket, hoping today will not be that day. Their once safe job has morphed into a public-facing, essential worker, forcing each with a unnerving and daunting decision: potential bankruptcy or illess/potential death.
The Company’s decision to end Hero Pay based on the premise the Company is seeing a “return to normal” fails to address a very concerning fact. Michigan hosts three of the top 20 counties by number of deaths in the nation - Macomb, Oakland and Wayne. (John Hopkins University & Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center, 05.05.20 /https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map). The resulting health and safety shifts in public-facing work; specifically for those in Metro Detroit due to these unusually high statistics remains a viable concern.
Statistical projections suggest there will be no immediate or even gradual “return to normal” for our members working in Michigan. Wearing a mask to work is not normal. Ringing up groceries behind plexiglass is not normal. Wiping down touch points and high-touch areas with bleach is not normal. Using hand sanitizer constantly is not normal. Returning to your family after your shift in fear is not normal. Wondering if you will survive a potentially deadly virus is not normal.
We fully understand the pressure this unprecedented event has presented. However, I also fully understand it is the Company’s responsbility to not only provide safe working conditions, by adhering to the guidelines provided by both the C.D.C. and state government executive orders; but to take the necessary steps to compensate those who fuel your record-breaking profits. We are asking #KrogerDoTheRightThing.
UFCW 876 President