Resolution on Kroger Store Closures

February 18, 2021

WHEREAS, Kroger announced the closure of two QFC stores in Seattle in direct response to the passing of Hazard Pay for grocery workers;

WHEREAS, Kroger has seen a 99.8% increase in profits since the start of the pandemic;

WHEREAS, Kroger has recorded $989 million in stock buybacks since the start of the pandemic;

WHEREAS, Kroger revoked hazard pay in May 2020 despite record profits and skyrocketing case counts of COVID-19 in Washington state;

WHEREAS, Grocery workers live in constant fear of catching Covid-19 and getting sick themselves, or worse yet, bringing it home to their families;

WHEREAS, Grocery employers continue to prioritize placating customers over the safety of their employees and ignore COVID-19 safety protocols put in place by our government;

WHEREAS, Kroger, in particular, continues to shirk their responsibility to keep workers safe, and informed store managers it was company policy to not enforce Governor Inslee’s mask mandate;

WHEREAS, Workers fought for months to reinstate hazard pay because of their continuous elevated risk of COVID exposure and illness, and increased workloads and stress;

WHEREAS, Hazard Pay for grocery workers was passed in the City of Seattle and other local jurisdictions to address Kroger’s failure to compensate grocery workers for the level of work and stress that has risen drastically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;

WHEREAS, Kroger’s decision to close these stores is a transparent attempt to scare workers and intimidate local governments from passing hazard pay ordinances; 

WHEREAS, This announcement is a case of over-the-top greed and bullying that shows how out of touch Kroger is with our community;

WHEREAS, Other chains, including PCC and Town & Country locally, have expanded hazard pay in response to local ordinances;

WHEREAS, The general public overwhelmingly supports hazard pay and supports grocery store workers;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED That Martin Luther King County Labor Council forcefully condemns the cruel and retaliatory decision by Kroger to close two QFC stores in the midst of a pandemic when thousands of people are already out of work;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That MLK Labor in will work with other labor and progressive organizations, to strategize, organize and take action to support the workers that are impacted by this decision; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED That MLK Labor will call on City and County governments to pledge to not only uphold ordinances that have already been passed mandating hazard pay for frontline workers, but to not cave to Kroger’s fear mongering and intimidation and continue passing hazard pay ordinances in other localities.

CONCLUSION: We have an obligation to stand with our grocery workers on the front lines of the pandemic and take action about a blatant display of ruthless corporate greed.

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