Kroger Takes Carrot-and-Stick Approach to Vaccinate King Soopers / City Market Grocery Employees – CBS Denver

DENVER (CBS4)– King Soopers and City Market are part of a national chain. Parent company Kroger has demanded that unvaccinated salaried employees be billed an additional $ 50 per month for health insurance if they participate in the company’s plan. And will no longer receive two weeks of paid emergency leave for COVID-19. These measures are due to enter into force on January 1, 2022.

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United Food and Commercial Workers union secretary / treasurer Kevin Schneider said the company may not be able to do so in Colorado.

“Employers are required to provide 80 hours of COVID back-up compensation to their workers who need to be quarantined or tested positive for COVID,” Schneider said.

He says this is due to an order previously put into effect by Governor Jared Polis.

The King Soopers on 9th and Corona in Denver (Credit: CBS)

As a carrot, the company offers bonuses of $ 100 to employees who get vaccinated.

Schneider retorts that it might be higher because they’ve had a lot to do with difficult clients, “They’ve been spat on, insulted and that’s unfortunate.”

He adds that the risk premium of $ 2 per hour that its members received at the start of the pandemic has disappeared.

Customers see policies with their own eyes.

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A man leaving a supermarket with groceries in his arms said, “We’re still living in a pandemic right now, but I don’t think taking it out of someone’s paycheck is the best decision.”

Another buyer said, “Probably a lot of people aren’t going to like it, you know, but they offer incentives for a lot of things. “

Discussions about the new rules can arise at employee dinner tables and at the company-union bargaining table.

King Soopers released this statement to CBS4: We have been navigating the COVID-19 pandemic for almost two years and, in keeping with our values, the safety of our associates and clients has remained our top priority. To accomplish this, we created and modified several workplace policies at the start of the pandemic to support our associates during immense uncertainty. Administering the vaccine to our associates has been an integral part of our efforts and continues to be a central concern. As we prepare to go through the next phase of the pandemic, we are changing policies to encourage safe behaviors, including immunization, which we continue to encourage with a $ 100 payment for all fully immunized associates.

To be more specific on the subjects of:
• Monthly health insurance supplement
o This monthly supplement of $ 50 will be implemented on January 1, 2022 and will only apply to salaried associates who are not vaccinated and registered with a company health plan. This does not apply to hourly employees affiliated to a company health care plan or to those covered by a collective agreement.

• COVID-19 leave
o Although COVID-19 leave is no longer available for unvaccinated associates, we continue to offer a variety of forms of leave for associates who may contract the virus, including acquired PTO and the ability to request unpaid leave. Special leave will remain available for fully immunized associates who may have cases of rupture.
o In Colorado, all associates, regardless of their immunization status, will remain eligible for Emergency Leave (ELOA) which allows up to 80 hours of additional paid sick leave for employees who are unable to work for reasons related to a public health emergency.

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