(CBS4) – A union representing more than 21,000 grocery workers in Colorado and Wyoming says 49 King Soopers employees in Colorado tested positive for coronavirus. One Colorado employee has died, they say.

(credit: CBS)

Details about which stores the employees work or when they tested positive were not released.

The union is one of seven which are asking Kroger to not eliminate the $2/hour bonus called “Hero Pay.” The company is said to be getting rid of that bonus on May 17.

The unions also want the company to provide testing to all employees and improve store practices.

“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,” said Kim Cordova, president of UCGW Local 7.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced there are now 1,009 coronavirus-related deaths in the state, an increase of 22 from Monday. There are also 20,157 known positive cases.

There are currently 563 people in Colorado hospitals for COVID-19.

Kroger defended its decision in an emailed statement to CBS MoneyWatch.

“Our temporary Hero Bonus is scheduled to end in mid-May. In the coming months, we know that our associates’ needs will continue to evolve and change as our country recovers,” a spokesperson stated. “We are committed to the continued support of our associates’ safety and mental well-being, and we’ll continue our ongoing discussions on these critical aspects with the UFCW.”

  1. w ward says:

    Stop calling entry-level, minimum-wage grocery store and restaurant employees “Heroes.”
    They NEVER have to do their job wearing a bullet-proof vest and face shield helmet,
    They NEVER have to sleep on the ground in all kinds of weather while saving homes and landscape,
    They NEVER have to be in a foreign country for years at a time fighting an enemy, and
    They NEVER have to deal with a strangers blood, vomit and diarrhea all day long.
    Food workers get to work in shelter with air conditioning, sanitary bathrooms, parking, breaks and get to go home every day to a nice bed.

    Go to the stores and do a report. The customers are compliant and wear masks, it’s the workers who are in violation of government mandates.
    Being employed now is a privilege, not an entitlement. They’re not Heroes and don’t deserve the bonus which Kroger raised prices to give and is profiting from this crisis. There is NO reason to support the whining union or give them any more press.

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