PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - September 28, 2020 


The New York Times reports President Trump's tax returns show chronic losses; and will climate change make it as a topic in the first presidential debate?


2020Talks - September 28, 2020 


The New York Times obtains President Trump's tax returns, showing chronic loss and debts coming due. And Judge Amy Coney Barrett is Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Union Protests Escalate Push for Grocery Chain to Extend Hazard Pay

The United Food and Commercial Workers estimated that more than 9,000 grocery store workers in the United States were infected with the coronavirus as of May. (Adobe stock)
The United Food and Commercial Workers estimated that more than 9,000 grocery store workers in the United States were infected with the coronavirus as of May. (Adobe stock)
June 11, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Union workers for Kroger Company in West Virginia and Virginia on Wednesday staged a car caravan demonstration to urge the grocery giant to reinstate hazard pay while the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The supermarket chain quietly last month ended its $2 an hour "hero pay" and replaced it with a one-time "thank you" bonus, which will be paid out next week.

Bill Caldwell, who has worked at a West Virginia Kroger for 44 years, says it's careless for the company to stop bonuses and extra pay while he has taken on major risks and a heavier workload during the pandemic. He says his store was very late in protecting employees against the virus.

"After about a month, then they started to take our temperature, but the tools they used didn't do very well," Caldwell relates. "And then we started wearing masks probably just three weeks ago."

In a statement, a Kroger spokeswoman said the company has invested more than $800 million "to reward and safeguard associates since March." She added that Kroger will continue to safeguard employees while "running a sustainable business that provides steady employment for over half a million associates."

But Jonathan Williams, a spokesman for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, which represents Kroger's mid-Atlantic union members, says the chain could easily afford to continue the $2 an hour extra pay for essential workers. He points out that the pandemic is not over and the company has reaped in record profits while it's gone on.

"It's no surprise to us that Kroger is raking in cash right now from their sales," he states. "But unfortunately, they're not sharing their success with the members who are making it possible and who, indeed, are risking their lives and the lives of their families in order to make this success possible."

Williams says the UFCW estimated 65 grocery store workers died of coronavirus as of last month and more than 9,000 were infected. He expects that number to be much higher now.

Diane Bernard, Public News Service - WV