September 2021 - Kroger | 2nd Runner Up
We’ve all been dealing with COVID-19 in our own ways…but some of us are better at it than others. Take Kroger, an American grocery store chain, for example. In 2021, it was widely criticized for shutting several store locations to avoid a local ordinance on hazard pay in L.A. The proposed 120-day, $5-wage increase was meant to accommodate frontline workers who have kept essential services up and running throughout the pandemic. But rather than pay, Kroger—which has a net worth of over $34 billion—closed multiple stores and laid off more than 250 employees. This isn’t an isolated incident, either; Kroger, which just so happens to be the second-largest grocery store chain in the U.S., pulled the same stunt in Long Beach and Seattle.
On top of that, a man named Alvin Motley Jr. was shot and killed by a security guard outside of a Kroger Fuel Center in Memphis, Tennessee—allegedly over a dispute about loud music playing from his car. Ben Crump, the Motley family’s attorney had this to say to Kroger: “You have a duty to provide safety and have qualified employees and contractors who won’t kill Black people over loud music.”
And if that wasn’t enough, a quick scan of r/Kroger on Reddit shows that the store’s employees are battling everything from scheduling problems to being refused sick leave. While we can applaud the fact that the company has been cracking down on wasteful plastic packaging, until it starts treating employees like people—not numbers—we’ll be taking our business elsewhere.