‘We think Kroger should be leading’: Union pushes for grocery store chain to restore ‘hero pay’

The Wisconsin branch of a national union is not giving up on its fight to restore hazard pay for those who work at Kroger grocery stores in the state.

On Sunday the nationwide chain ended its $2 an hour “Hero Pay,” instead offering its employees a one-time bonus of $400 for full-time workers and $200 for part-time workers.

Melanie Bartholf, the political director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1473, said that money will not go as far as hourly increases for workers who are in just as dangerous of a situation as they were days ago. She said with the increased demand, many part-time workers are clocking near full-time hours but won’t see the same benefits.

Bartholf also worries about the standard Kroger could set for other chains.

“We think that Kroger should be leading by example and really setting the standard,” she said. “We know that what happens with a lot of these large retailers is that when one domino falls, then they all fall.”

Bartholf said the union is negotiating on a national level to try and get the “hero pay” back.

Kroger did not respond to a request for comment on this story.