A new investigation by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union has found out that at least 3,257 grocery store workers have tested positive for Covid-19, among which 68 have died. More than 10,000 workers have been exposed to the virus at point since the outbreak.
The union is comprised of grocery store workers from bigger chains such as Kroger, Supervalu and Albertson’s. The president of the union said that the number of patients from his union have tripled in the last five weeks.
The news comes as Kroger joins Amazon and other big companies in suspending a temporary wage system where retail workers were getting paid an extra $2 every hour for their sacrifice. The payment has been dubbed the ‘hero pay’ in the business.
UFCW President Marc Perrone said that this new number is a good enough reason for the companies to continue paying their workers a bit more extra. He continued that companies like Kroger are essentially suggesting that the pandemic has passed by ending the hazard payments.
Perrone was joined by many grocery store workers including Krogers. The supermarket brand did announce that it planned on paying a lump-sum payment of up to $400 to its workers for the work they have put it, dubbed the ‘Thank You Pay’.
Kroger calculates that in the end, it would have spend $130 million extra to support its workers through the pandemic. However, the fear and concerns that the frontline workers are feeling only seemed to have grown as more states in the US continue to open up.
One Kroger manager from Michigan said that his concerns have grown as masks are increasingly becoming a partisan issue. Even though he is a 35-year veteran in retail, he says that he is afraid to ask customers to wear masks because he fears they may perceive the request to be political.
He also recalls one customer who came up to him and straight up said that he didn’t care about the health of the workers. Another worker in South Carolina who worked for Ralph’s said that the workers were not heroes, but those who are suffering and in need of help.
She said that although her job is important to her, it can’t be more important than her health. Share your thoughts on this story with us in the comments, and be sure to follow us on Facebook for more news like this one.
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