Kroger Demands US Government Classify Grocery Employees as Emergency Personnel

The coronavirus pandemic has continued to be a serious problem for those around the world. It has especially been an issue that those on the frontlines, such as doctors, delivery workers, and grocery store clerks, have had to navigate. Given this crisis, grocery store chain Kroger has urged the government to acknowledge its workers as emergency personnel, as Yahoo noted. If the government does choose to give Kroger's employees' this designation, they would be able to get access to personal protection equipment (PPE), which they can use to protect themselves while they continue to work throughout this pandemic.

"Given the significant daily risk these workers face, we are calling on all of our federal and state leaders to take immediate action," Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen and UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in a statement. The United Food and Workers (UFCW) International Union is the largest union in the country for food and retail. "Specifically, we are requesting our national leaders to assign a temporary designation of first responder or emergency personnel status for all grocery workers. Make no mistake, this designation is absolutely critical as it will ensure these frontline workers have priority access to personal protection equipment like masks and gloves."

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Kroger has been steadfast in its support of its workers throughout this crisis. In early April, the chain granted two rounds of bonuses to their employees who have been working on the frontlines during this difficult time. It was first reported that Kroger was giving out a bonus of $300 to full-time employees and $150 to part-time workers. After those bonuses were announced, it was reported that the chain would be giving out a second one-time "hero bonus" of $2 extra per hour to hourly workers at their locations. They granted bonuses to grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy, and call center employees during the period between March 29 and April 18.

"Following talks between UFCW, America’s largest food and retail union, and Kroger, UFCW is proud to join the company in announcing a $2 per hour wage increase," UFCW International President Perrone shared at the time. "Working together, UFCW and Kroger have listened to workers and customers across the country to identify the most urgent needs and determine the best way to support these hardworking men and women on the front lines who are serving our communities every day throughout this national crisis."