What was first being referred to as “hero bonuses” or “appreciation pay,” could now be stripped away from essential workers, despite the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise.
The nation-wide stay-at-home orders have just hit the 60-day mark, and state and local governments across the nation are attempting to reopen. Major chains like Target, Walmart, CVS, Whole Foods, Costco, Sprouts, and Starbucks that offered employees financial incentives to continue working through the pandemic say they are now considering revoking it. Some already have.
Starbucks closed thousands of their locations at the end of March and offered all employees a month of paid leave. Stores with drive-thrus remained open with a $3-an-hour raise. Now that the coffee chain is reopening stores, those raises will stop at the end of this month. The same goes for Target employees who received a $2 hourly increase.
Ralphs and other Kroger-owned stores are terminating their extra $2 per hour, effective Sunday. Disgruntled employees, initially relieved by the increase, say the circumstances haven’t changed enough for the pay to be revoked.⠀
Dionna Richardson, a cashier at a Ralph’s in Hollywood, spoke to the LA Times about a Coronavirus outbreak that happened at her store. Out of 158 employees, 21 have tested positive. “The pandemic isn’t going away, coronavirus isn’t going away, so why are they taking away these two dollars from us? It’s absurd,” she said.
Since mid-April, there were at least 40 known cases of Grocery workers across the country, who have died from contracting the virus.