Kroger will give employees bonuses after eliminating extra pay for essential workers

Kroger is ending its $2-an-hour pay increase for those working amid the coronavirus pandemic and replacing it with a one-time $400 bonus, the grocery chain announced Friday. 

Kroger began offering the extra hourly pay for workers in March as the pandemic led to widespread closures while employees in the food supply chain stayed on the job.

The new bonus system, which Kroger says will cost the company $130 million, gives $400 bonuses to full-time employees and $200 bonuses to part-time employees as they return to their regular pay rate. 

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents thousands of Kroger employees, sent a letter Friday condemning Kroger and more than a hundred other grocery store chains planning on ending bonus pay. 

“Now, it has come to our attention that each of your respective companies are actively planning to end what some of you have called ‘hazard pay,’ ‘appreciation pay,’ or even ‘hero pay,’ sometime over the next few weeks,” the letter reads. 

“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,” they added.