Stop & Shop ends 'Hero Pay' for its workers

Stop & Shop ended its employees' "Hero Pay," which acknowledged their courage and commitment for showing up to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kimberly Rullan is one of the thousands of grocery store workers who never stopped going to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though the New York infection rate numbers are lower now, she says it's still a risk.
"I get maybe three customers, maybe more an hour, come in without a mask," she says. "Every day, I'm scared. I live with my grandma, and I would just hate for anything to happen, but I have to go to work."
During the pandemic, Stop & Shop gave their union employees a 10 percent increase in their salaries, known as essential pay. However, that ended July 4.
The unions that represent about 12,000 people who work at more than 50 Stop & Shop locations on Long Island say they are "disgusted" by the decision to end hazard pay.
John Durso, the president of Local 338, says they're now ramping up their efforts to get Stop & Shop to reinstate the extra pay. They've taken legal action, started online petitions and gained the support of numerous Long Island politicians, with many showing their support on social media.
"When everything else was going to hell in a hand basket, our members were there, each and every day taking care of the customers," says Durso.
In a statement, a Stop & Shop communications manager said, "The purpose of this temporary extra pay was to recognize our associates for their hard work during an unprecedented surge in demand and customer traffic. As states continue to reopen, we are returning to pre-COVID levels of traffic and demand."

However, Stop & Shop employee Joey Q. says, "If we're working with this, it means we're doing hazard duty, so we should be compensated with hazard pay."

Stop & Shop's spokesperson also said they are "continuing to take significant steps" to keep associates and customers safe and will continue to offer employees a flexible leave policy and additional paid sick leave.
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