This grocery company CEO decided to cut his employee’s COVID hazard pay when the pandemic started last year and made himself compensate up to $22.4 million.
And it was no other than Rodney McMullen, the CEO of Kroger grocery. During the early month of 2020 after the pandemic started, he announced a $2 hourly hazard increase, or “Hero Bonus,” for store and warehouse workers. But two months later, the company ended the raise — even as critics pointed out that the hazard remained.
“The hazard pay is disappearing. The hazard is not,” Bloomberg noted at the time.
“How do you go from a hero to zero when there’s still a pandemic out there?” asked one worker.
Rather than complying with the city ordinance that requires hazard pay for grocery store workers, the CEO chooses to close his stores instead.
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Workers were extremely shocked and couldn’t believe that McMullen did not want to pay them for risking their lives during the pandemic. They felt that the modest increase in their hourly wage was a step in the right direction because they were putting so much on the line in order to keep the grocery store chain operational. Nevertheless, McMullen was able to increase his personal compensation package.
“How do you go from a hero to zero when there’s still a pandemic out there?” asked one Kroger worker.
According to Bloomberg a spokesperson from Kroger emailed them a statement saying: “Kroger continues to reward and recognize our associates for their incredible work during this historic time.”
Reports show that billionaires increased their wealth by 54 percent during the pandemic.
The median pay for CEOs at more than 300 of the nation’s largest public companies rocketed from $12.8m to $13.7m.
This only shows that this pandemic only affects America’s working-class the most and gives even more advantages to a rich businessman like McMullen.