Coronavirus

Kroger employees protest loss of pandemic “Hero Pay”

Coronavirus

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Kroger employees held protests Wednesday in eight locations throughout Virginia and West Virginia, including Lynchburg and Blacksburg.

They drove by several Kroger stores, honking their horns, demanding that the company re-instates their so-called “Hero Pay,” a $2 per hour bonus for working during the pandemic.

Employees WFXR spoke with say they were hurt when the bonus ended about three weeks ago.

“We are still in a hazardous work environment in my opinion,” said Lynn Wolter, a Kroger employee who said her base pay is a little more than $10 per hour, “and we are being forced to wear face masks to protect ourselves, and I feel like if that’s the case, then we should get paid a little bit extra.”

WFXR reached out to Kroger corporate offices to ask about the employees’ demands.

A spokesperson did not answer WFXR’s question about the protest directly, but sent the following statement:

Kroger has invested more than $800 million to reward and safeguard associates since March. This consists of hero pay, appreciation pay and thank you pay bonuses paid to its hourly full-time and part-time associates to recognize and reward the team for their commitment to customers. To combat the spread of Covid-19 and keep associates and customers safe while shopping in stores, we have implemented capacity limits and equipped all stores with plexiglass barriers, social distancing decals and sanitizers as well as purchased personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves and face shields.

We will continue to safeguard our associates’ health and well-being and recognize their work. At the same time, we will continue running a sustainable business that provides steady employment and opportunities to learn and grow for over half a million associates, including 18,000 associates in the Mid-Atlantic region. The health and safety of our associates, customers and communities is and will continue to be our top priority.

Allison McGee, Corporate Affairs Manager with Kroger Mid-Atlantic

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