Union asking Stop & Shop to reconsider discontinuing hazard pay for employees

Hampden County

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(WWLP) – On Thursday, July 2, Stop & Shop announced they would discontinue the hazard pay premium for all employees but the United Food and Commercial Workers Union is asking for customer’s support in getting the company to reconsider.

According to a news release sent to 22News from the UFCW Local 1459, Local 1459 and its members are not willing to accept the company’s position and believes employees should receive hazard pay for being on the front lines. Grocery workers are still working the front lines.

As a result, starting Wednesday, members of the UFCW Local 1459 will be leafleting customers at 17 Stop & Shop locations through western Massachusetts for their support.

22News spoke with a representative from UFCW Local 1459, who emphasized that the pandemic is still happening and grocery workers are still on the front lines.

“We don’t feel that it’s right that our members are being asked to put themselves at risk more than they would normally do beyond their normal job and they’re not being compensated for putting themselves at risk,” Crystal Bouchie told 22News.

According to a news release from Stop & Shop on May 28, Stop & Shop together with the UFCW announced the extension of its 10 percent pay increase for hourly store associates through July 4. This appreciation pay recognizes associates’ efforts throughout the pandemic.

“We are asking Stop & Shop to do what is right by compensating their employees for the risk they endure each and every day. Hazard pay should remain until the virus is no longer a threat,” the UFCW stated in the news release.

Stop & Shop’s spokesperson said as states continue to reopen, stores have been busier and the company continues to take significant steps to keep employees and customers safe. Stop & Shop will continue to offer associates a flexible leave policy and additional paid sick leave.

“We deeply appreciate the extraordinary efforts of our associates and have been pleased to offer and extend our appreciation pay program for longer than nearly every other food retailer. 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,” Stop & Shop spokesperson Maura O’Brien told 22News.

Grocery stores have been essential since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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