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Colorado grocery store workers ask for reinstated hazard pay

COVID-19 pandemic has raised grocery prices and changed shopping habits
Posted at 11:36 AM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 18:38:09-05

COLORADO — In the last month, Colorado has seen an increase in hospitalizations and cases surge in the COVID-19 pandemic. While many businesses face restrictions grocery store workers in the state say their employers aren't doing enough to keep them safe.

Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7 are calling on its employers King Soopers (Kroger owned) and Albertsons/Safeway stores to reinstate a hazard pay of $2.00 an hour that stopped in May.

Earlier this month Coloradans for the Common Good, an organization made up of unions, civic groups, and congregations sent a letter to the grocery store companies asking for a meeting to discuss the risks grocery store workers are facing during the pandemic.

"From the time I walk into that building until the time I leave, I don't feel safe in there," Marlon Johnson, a King Soopers employee said in a press conference Wednesday morning.

Workers in Wednesday's press conference detailed conditions in their stores of social distancing and mask mandates not being enforced, and some bathrooms not having proper supplies.

"A lot of local governments have done a good job of having certain restrictions in place for these grocers to abide by. A big problem that we're having is that companies themselves just aren't enforcing them," Melissa McCollister, political liaison for the union said.

The union said Wednesday they would be open to discussions and bargains with grocery stores on the exact details of the hazard pay.