Kroger employees are surrounded by food at work — but many struggle to afford food and rent, says a survey of 10,200 workers

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According to new research at Kroger KR, many supermarket workers struggle to keep food on the table even as they help feed their communities,
The workers released as the pandemic continues to expose and exacerbate the financial and health challenges of essential workers.

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About 78% of workers at eight Kroger-owned grocery chains, including King Soups, Ralph’s, Food4Less and City Market, say they have “low” or “very low” food security, said Report From the Economic Roundtable, a Los Angeles-based non-profit research group, and Occidental College.

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While “food engulfs Kroger grocery workers every hour at their job,” the report states, “these workers cannot afford balanced and healthy meals.”

“They run out of food, skip meals, and are sometimes hungry before the end of the month,” the researchers wrote. “Those who report with go hungry to provide food and other essentials for their children.”

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,‘Before the end of the month, they run out of food, give up food and sometimes go hungry. People whose children report go hungry to provide food and other essentials for their children.’,

– Economic Round Table Report

Researchers received complete responses from more than 10,200 Kroger workers in Washington’s Puget Sound area, Colorado and Southern California, who were surveyed at the request of local United Food and Commercial Workers unions.

Forty-four percent of respondents said they are unable to pay their rent, 36% worry about eviction, and 14% are experiencing homelessness or have experienced it in the past year. Nine out of 10 workers said the increase in the cost of food and rent had exceeded the wage increase, and 67% said they did not earn enough money to cover basic monthly expenses.

At work, two-thirds of respondents said they were dealing with customer issues related to the pandemic – a quarter of clients threatened violence – while nearly six in 10 reported having work schedules that changed at least weekly. which takes a toll on some workers with young children.

The report came as 8,400 unionized workers at Kroger’s King Soopers stores went on strike in Denver this week, calling for better compensation and a new contract to ensure a safer workplace. Kroger, for its part, strike is called “Careless and self-serving.”

,‘The implication of the economic roundtable that the Kroger family of companies does not care about the well-being of our partners and their families is clearly untrue.’,

— Tim Massa, Kroger’s Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer

Kroger did not respond to Businesshala’s request for an economic roundtable analysis or comment on the strike, but the company called the report’s findings “misleading” Wednesday. The analysis of the self, looking at how its roughly 85,000 hourly employees are compensated in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

The Kroger-commissioned report found that these hourly workers received higher wages and benefits ($18.27 an hour on average and $5.61 an hour in health care and retirement benefits) than their retail-industry peers; that the Company provided both monetary and non-monetary assistance to workers and their families; And that it invested money and made policy changes to ensure workers’ safety during the pandemic, among other points.

“The implication of the Economic Roundtable that the Kroger family of companies does not care about the well-being of our associates and their families is completely untrue,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s senior vice president and chief public officer. said in a statement, “I am disappointed that the UFCW has chosen to pull together such a misleading and untrue report – leading me to believe that they no longer have the best interests of our partners at heart.

The UFCW report made a number of recommendations to promote workers’ well-being, including raising the minimum wage to $45,760 a year, providing housing assistance and childcare subsidies, and offering a 50% discount on groceries for employees.

a report It was noted last May that Kroger’s CEO received $22 million in compensation in 2020, even as it eliminated hazard pay for its workers in the early months of the pandemic. A spokesperson at the time told Businesshala that “Kroger continues to reward and recognize our colleagues for their incredible work during this historic time,” and noted that the company was offering $100 to those workers, Those who were vaccinated against COVID-19.

While Kroger, like many large companies, has increased wages during the pandemic, a Brookings Institution Analysis published in December argued that rising inflation has eroded at least some of those benefits for workers. Researchers analyzed the wages of hourly workers at 13 large US companies and verified the data directly with the companies.

For example, Kroger raised its average hourly wage from $15 in January 2020 to $16.25 in October 2021 — a modest 8% increase after adjusting for inflation, according to a Brookings report. Hui.


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