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Food workers’ union says 68 grocery store workers have died from Covid-19

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said Wednesday that at least 68 grocery store workers at companies it represents have died as a result of the Covid-19 virus.

The UFCW also said 10,000 grocery store employees have been sickened or exposed to Covid-19. The union said that is a 200% increase over the past 5 weeks, according to internal estimates.

The union also noted that they have not received internal estimates on the number of their workers that have died or become sick from the grocers their union workers are employed by.

“The challenges that [these grocery workers] have has not diminished,” said UFCW President Marc Perrone. “Any given day, these workers must interact with thousands of customers coming in and out of these supermarkets.”

As of last Friday, at least 65 grocery workers have died and 9,810 workers have tested positive for or been exposed to Covid-19, according to the UFCW, citing internal data.

The union has also been vocally opposed to grocery stores that have phased out their “hero pay” programs.

CNN has previously reported that Kroger, the country’s largest supermarket chain, is ended its “hero pay” bonuses over the weekend.

The “Hero bonus” is a “a $2 premium” above an employee’s standard base rate of pay implemented on March 31, according to the company.

Kroger also announced last week the company would pay a one-time “Thank You Pay” that will be $400 for full-time associates and $200 for part-time associates.

Final appreciation pay will be given to Kroger employees by May 23.