Kroger wants retail workers designated as ‘extended first responders’


CINCINNATI (WMBD) — Kroger and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, America’s largest food and retail union, released a joint statement Tuesday.

In the statement, they ask the federal and state government to designate associates at grocery stores as “extended first responders” or “emergency personnel.”

The goal of the designation would help give essential food and retail workers priority access to personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, helping protect both the grocery store workers and the customers they serve from the spread of COVID-19.

Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen’s and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union International President Marc Perrone’s asked elected leaders to make the change in a joint statement.

“Since the onset of this pandemic, Kroger family of companies associates, who are also members of the UFCW, have been working tirelessly to make sure that millions of American families have the fresh food and products they need. As all Americans are now witnessing – grocery workers play a critical role in our communities and they must be protected.

Working together, Kroger and the UFCW have already taken significant steps to keep Kroger associates safe and reward them for their incredible sacrifices throughout this ongoing crisis. The truth is more must be done and it must be done now.

Given the significant daily risk these workers face, we are calling on all of our federal and state leaders to take immediate action. Specifically, we are requesting our nation’s leaders to assign a temporary designation of first responder or emergency personnel status for all grocery workers. Make no mistake, this designation is absolutely critical as it will ensure these frontline workers have priority access to personal protection equipment like masks and gloves.

This urgent call for temporary first responder or emergency personnel status is not just about protecting grocery store workers; it is also about protecting the customers they serve and our nation’s food supply in general.

We urge our national and statewide elected leaders to act now and protect these essential workers.”

Rodney McMullen and Marc Perrone

Kroger and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union officials say they have been advocating for this change with elected officials for the last five weeks.

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