Kroger said on Wednesday that three Los Angeles stores will be closed after local officials approve a mandatory $ 5 per hour risk allowance for grocery and pharmacy employees during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Cincinnati grocery store will close two Ralphs stores and a 4-less food store in town on May 15. It will operate another 65 stores in the city. The shopkeeper criticized local officials for spending millions of dollars in additional expenses during the pandemic.
Kruger said in a statement, “The operation of these three stores has become impossible,” noting that the task will cost nearly $ 20 million over the next 120 days. He indicated that the average hourly wage for local workers is already $ 18, which is $ 24 when looking at benefits.
Kruger also noted that at least after the first injection of the COVID-19 vaccine, 20% of his partners, Ralphs and Food 4, had given a smaller dose.
Krueger comes after other lockdown announcements in February, after payment requirements for dangerous living conditions arrived elsewhere on the West Coast. It affected four other stores.
Kruger stated that all of its stores have complied with the directive, including the three that will be closed, describing them as “substandard”.
“By giving priority to vaccines rather than paying extra fees, front-line workers are protected,” Kruger added. “Unfortunately, Los Angeles City Council ignored the Economic Impact Report because it failed to take groceries into account. Stores, even in the midst of the pandemic, are still running at very low profit margins in a highly competitive environment.”
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Last week, Kroger reported that it had $ 132.5 billion in revenue in 2020 and $ 2.6 billion in profit. However, the retailer lost $ 77 million in the most recent quarter after paying nearly $ 1 billion in employee benefits.
The consultant’s analysis of the incremental cost of risk benefits to Kroger revealed that for every dollar increased to nearly 500,000 employees per hour, it would cost about $ 15 million per week and $ 780 million per year.
In addition to the Kruger store, the supermarket also operates a number of regional supermarket chains in 35 states, including Fred Mayer, Harris Teter, Ralphs, Mariano, Frieze, Smith, King Supers, Qatar Financial Center, etc. The company has approximately 2,800 stores and nearly 500,000 employees.
The union representing thousands of Kruger frontline workers, the United Food and International Trade Organization (UFIT), has criticized Kruger’s earlier shutdown as “revenge”.
UFCW President Mark Peyroni said, “Operation Kruger today is a brutal attack on vital workers and threatens the lives of California communities devastated in recent months by an explosion of COVID-19 infection. Food supply.” “Essential supermarket workers are threatening their health every day to make sure families can put food on the table, and city leaders are working hard to make sure they get the risk benefits they have.”
The federation noted that at least 139 supermarket employees and other retailers died on Kruger’s behalf during the COVID-19 pandemic and more than 32,000 supermarket employees were infected or exposed to the novel coronavirus.