On March 10, the UFCW condemned Kroger’s action to close Food 4 Less and Ralphs stores in Los Angeles after the Los Angeles City Council passed a hazard pay ordinance. Kroger’s new Los Angeles store closures come just weeks after similar Kroger store closures in Seattle and Long Beach in retaliation against local hazard pay measures, denying essential workers this vital support as they continue to face risks of COVID infection on the frontlines of this pandemic.
“Kroger has made billions in pandemic profits thanks to essential grocery workers in California and across the country, said UFCW International President Marc Perrone in a statement. “Kroger’s action today is a cruel attack on essential workers and threatens the food supply for California communities devastated by the explosion of COVID-19 infections in recent months. Essential workers in grocery stores are putting their health at risk every day to make sure families can put food on the table and city leaders are stepping up to ensure they have the hazard pay they have earned.”
“When grocery chains do not provide workers with critical personal protective equipment like N95 masks, grocery workers have to spend their own money to protect themselves and their customers,” Perrone added. “When grocery workers are exposed to COVID-19 multiple times and no longer have enough paid sick leave to safely quarantine, they feel forced to come to work sick to pay the bills. Hazard pay is not just about recognizing the health risks grocery workers face, it’s about making sure that these essential workers have the support they need to keep our grocery stores safe for customers and ensure all our families have the food we need as the pandemic continues.”