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Kroger to pay $2/hour bonus for 460K workers during virus outbreak

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Kroger grocery store chain has announced bonuses of $2 per hour for its employees working during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Cincinnati-based company announced the bonuses will cover the period between March 29-April 18. 

The United Food and Commercial Workers union says the raise will affect about 460,000 workers.

When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a stay-at-home order, non-essential businesses were required to close their doors. Grocers are essential, and groceries are largely a face-to-face business, at a time governments are encouraging people to maintain a "social distance" of at least six feet.

More:‘I’m putting my life on the line’: Detroit area workers brave coronavirus fears

Grocery stores are one of the few remaining places in Michigan where large numbers of people congregate. Kroger has had to shorten its hours to allow staff time to restock the store.

More:Kroger to cut hours, giving employees time to restock

It has also offered a dedicated shopping time for those thought to be most vulnerable to the virus, as a tweet Thursday morning from Kroger's Michigan division explained.

And unlike restaurants, which have switched to a curbside-take out model, with little if any contact between customer and employee, grocery stores are still open to browsing.

Thursday's announcement is the second bonus Kroger has offered during the outbreak.

The first bonus, which will pay out on the April 3 paycheck, was $300 for full-time workers and $150 for part-timers. That covered work between March 8-28.

In a statement on the raise, United Food and Commercial Workers International President Marc Perrone said: "Working together, UFCW and Kroger have listened to workers and customers across the country to identify the most urgent needs and determine the best way to support these hardworking men and women on the front lines who are serving our communities every day throughout this national crisis."