Hazard Pay Reached at Union Grocer
Stop & Shop will bonus pay UFCW members for hours worked during pandemic
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery store workers were hailed as the unsung heroes. As other jobs went remote, these workers continued to keep the shelves of the store stocked and the customers fed. Many got sick and some even died while working, especially before important safety measures like mandatory mask-wearing was implemented. In return, the unions representing supermarket workers negotiated hazard pay raises. However, many began cutting hazard pay over the summer as deaths from COVID-19 decreased.
In the Northeast, the epicenter of the early outbreak, employees at Stop & Shop received hazard pay until the beginning of July. Since then their union, UFCW, and RWDSU, have been negotiating with the company to restore the pay, arguing that with restrictions still in place, it is still dangerous to go to work. After two months of negotiations, the union and the company announced on Friday that workers will receive a lump sum payment that is equal to 10% of the hours worked between July 5th and August 22nd.
In a joint statement put out by UFCW President Marc Perrone and Stop & Shop President Gordon Reid they said:
“Working in partnership when the pandemic began to take hold, UFCW International and UFCW local unions together with Stop & Shop offered union members a temporary premium. When that pay raise expired in July, the UFCW local unions and members asked Stop & Shop to do what is right for grocery workers and UFCW members.”
“Today, UFCW and Stop & Shop are proud to announce a tentative agreement has been reached on a new premium that recognizes Stop & Shop workers for their incredible efforts. The UFCW wants to acknowledge Stop & Shop for not only recognizing its workers but for remaining committed to working with UFCW, America’s largest food and retail union, to better the lives of these dedicated workers and their families.”
“Today’s agreement is a further testament that by negotiating in good faith, Stop & Shop and UFCW have been able to achieve a real victory that is shared by the company, its customers, these communities, and the grocery workers who continue to serve.”
56,000 people will receive the bonus payments. Additionally, Stop & Shop will now observe a moment of silence on Labor Day and Workers Memorial Day to recognize the frontline workers who died due to COVID-19 and the collective strength that union membership has provided the associates.