DENVER (CBS4) — Kroger is planning to cut its $2/hour “Hero Pay” increase on May 17 — but grocery store unions are asking Kroger keep the pay-bump as the pandemic continues.

Kim Cordova is the president of UFCW Local 7, which represents more than 14,000 Kroger grocery-chain workers in Colorado and Wyoming.

“In any natural or man-made disaster, grocery workers never stop. For more than two months, these workers have put their lives and their families lives at risk to protect and serve the communities they live and work in,” Cordova stated. “Taking away this hero pay from these essential workers disregards their continued heroism as they serve their communities in crisis.”

Cordova says grocery workers’ jobs will become more dangerous as stay-at-home orders expire.

“Just because states start to reopen doesn’t mean the dangers from COVID are less severe. Instead, grocery workers’ jobs become more dangerous as customer traffic increases. We’re already seeing a startling uptick in the number of essential grocery workers testing positive for COVID-19,” she stated.

UFCW Local 7 in Colorado has confirmed 39 workers tested positive for COVID-19  and one death. Karen Donna Haws of Brush, Colorado, a Courtesy Clerk at King Soopers owned by Kroger, died on April 10.

Unions are also continuing to call on Kroger to more effectively limit the number of shoppers in a store at one time in order to allow for safe six feet of distancing, and also have all workers and shoppers wear masks.

There’s no response yet from Kroger to the union’s request.

Employees were notified of Kroger’s pan earlier this week.

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