'Hero Bonus:' Grocery workers at QFC, Fred Meyer stores to get pay raise

SEATTLE -- Grocery workers at Kroger stores across the country are getting a pay increase and new benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak.

More than 13,000 grocery workers QFC and Fred Meyer stores in Washington state are included.

The Kroger Company and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union agreed to a $2 per hour pay increase and emergency paid leave.

"Our associates have displayed the true actions of a hero, working tirelessly on the frontlines to ensure everyone has access to affordable, fresh food and essentials during this national emergency," said Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen. "The Hero Bonus is just one more way we continue to convey our thanks and gratitude not only to our existing associates but also to the more than 30,000 new hires who have joined in the past two weeks and those who will soon join the Kroger Family of Companies."

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, several grocery store chains announced intentions to hire thousands of workers.

“Working together, UFCW and Kroger have listened to workers and customers across the country to identify the most urgent needs and determine the best way to support these hardworking men and women on the front lines who are serving our communities every day throughout this national crisis,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone.

Stores are also implementing additional cleaning and sanitizing protocols, shortened store operating hours, installing plexiglass "sneeze guards" at checkout lanes, pharmacy and Starbucks Coffee registers.

Floor decals have also been added to promote social distancing while shopping and checking out.