Kroger just says no to hazard pay for its workers. And closes stores to avoid it.
Unlike many Americans who shop in its stores, Kroger has had a pretty good year. That’s why Forbes recently noted how unnerving it is that the large grocery chain is balking at hazard pay for employees who’ve kept its stores running. Already, it’s shuttered stores in California and Washington state—all in cities where local governments have mandated special pandemic raises for these essential workers. Take Los Angeles, which approved a $5 per hour boost for grocery workers earlier this month. Kroger said no-can-do, then announced it would close three L.A. locations, citing rising costs. But as writer Errol Schweizer pointed out, that might not be the complete story: Kroger is a savvy chain that saw “eye-popping profits” of $2.5 billion last year.