CINCINNATI – Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, is calling on elected officials to temporarily designate grocery workers as "extended first responders" or "emergency personnel" during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen made the announcement Tuesday in a joint statement with Marc Perrone, the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).
“As all Americans are now witnessing – grocery workers play a critical role in our communities and they must be protected,” said McMullen and Perrone.
In the statement, McMullen and Perrone say the designation of first responder or emergency personnel status must be made to ensure the frontline workers have priority access to personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves.
"Given the significant daily risk these workers face, we are calling on all of our federal and state leaders to take immediate action,” they said. “Specifically, we are requesting our nation's leaders to assign a temporary designation of first responder or emergency personnel status for all grocery workers.”
McMullen and Perrone argue that this urgent call is not just about protecting grocery store workers, but also about protecting the customers they serve and our nation's food supply in general.
"We urge our national and statewide elected leaders to act now and protect these essential workers," the statement ends.