Coronavirus: Kroger replacing hourly “hero” pay bump with $130M in one-time employee bonuses

Kroger announced Friday it will spread about $130 million in “Thank You Pay” in the form of one-time bonuses among hourly employees, deemed essential due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Our associates have been instrumental in feeding America while also helping to flatten the curve during the initial phases of the pandemic,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement.

The bonuses, however, will replace Kroger’s temporary $2-per-hour pay increase, which it has provided employees since April. This means full-time employees will receive a one-time $400 bonus, while part-time employees will receive a one-time $200 bonus, The Hill reported.

In a letter sent Friday to 49 supermarket CEOs, the head of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union called on the companies to extend “hazard pay” for front-line grocery workers, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“To be very clear, the idea that any company … would stop paying higher wages to the men and women who are working on the front lines of this ongoing pandemic is absolutely unconscionable. That this action is even being considered while your respective companies experience record sales is shocking in its indifference,” the letter states.

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