coronavirus

Kroger Pays CEO $21 Million After Ending Store Workers' 'Hero Bonus'

'Eat the Rich' not yet available in deli section.

Kroger, the national grocery store giant, has really distinguished itself during the COVID-19 pandemic, if not always in ways it might want shoppers to think of. Early on in the outbreak, Judd Legum's Popular Information newsletter highlighted the company's sick leave policy that actually encouraged employees to work while ill. That created enough bad publicity that the chain eventually expanded its leave policy to allow two weeks' paid leave if employees had symptoms or needed to self-isolate. It still wasn't a real paid sick leave policy, since it will only last during the national state of emergency, after which the old, crappier policy will return.

Last week, the chain announced it would be ending the temporary $2 an hour "hero bonus" it had started paying store workers at the end of March. The company had to be shamed into providing that hazard pay after other stores had adopted the policy, but apparently Kroger figures the pandemic is over, since clearly nobody's wearing masks anymore. Weirdly, Kroger is still running this ad thanking its "associates" for feeding America and being brave; it actually played on the Spotify while I was typing up this story.

Thank You Associates For Keeping America Fed | The Kroger Co. youtu.be

Here's the latest development in the Story Of How Kroger Sucks And I'm Not Shopping There No More Except For In Idaho It's "Fred Meyer": Judd Legum, at it again, reports (in a subscribers-only joint) that Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen and other top executives got their very own hero bonuses, to the tune of many millions of dollars. Not because they're out on the front lines risking infection by idiots who think viruses aren't real, but because they've done so well at bringing in big money for the company.

As if the chain's weirdass CGI Fisher-Price looking ads weren't off-putting enough.

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coronavirus

Nancy Pelosi Wants To Give You This Shiny New Corona-Stimulus, Too Bad Mitch McConnell Is An Evil Dick

But what about the rich and the corporations? Who'll think about them?

House Democrats released their proposal for a "Phase Four" economic stimulus bill Tuesday, calling for a new round of direct payments to most Americans, as well as support for state and local governments, more funding for coronavirus testing, and a bunch of other Democratic priorities that are — and we can't emphasize this strongly enough — not in any way about protecting big companies that allowed a deadly virus to infect to their workers. Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to have the House vote on the bill Friday, although its fate after that is uncertain, since Republicans have decided their next big plan to help Americans is Doing Nothing.

The Democratic bill, called the "Heroes Act" to emphasize its aid to frontline healthcare workers, may not have any immediate prospects of being enacted, but it's designed to pressure Republicans to get off their asses and negotiate a bipartisan stimulus package sooner, and of course to draw the contrast between the two parties: Democrats want to get help to Americans in a crisis, and Republicans want to protect meatpacking plants that have been making the outbreak worse.

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Politics

Perdue Chicken Knows Cure For Covid Is Take Two Drumsticks, Get Your Ass Back On The Line In The Morning

Gonna tell those doctors what's what!

The Perdue Farms chicken company wants to tell doctors how to treat coronavirus patients, and Donald Trump wants to let them. The Washington Post reports that Perdue Farms sent letters to multiple health care providers on Virginia's Eastern Shore instructing them to "advise their patients who have been in close contact with someone with the novel coronavirus to spend only about a week away from work, instead of the two weeks that most doctors have been recommending." Because when you want up-to-date medical advice, who better to turn to than a giant agribusiness processor.

Two weeks ago, the president shouted that he was going to issue a royal proclamation immunizing meatpacking companies so that those essential workers could be herded back onto production lines to be exposed to coronavirus without exposing their employers to civil liability. In reality, he waved vaguely in the direction of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue (no relation), and instructed him to do something or other to keep meat cheap.

In the event, "something or other" turns out to be issuing OSHA and CDC guidelines so larded down with "if feasibles" and "should considers" and "to the extent possibles" as to be entirely meaningless. Because the spice chicken must flow!

All over the country, meatpacking plants, which force workers into close proximity for hours on end, are loci of coronavirus outbreaks. Perdue's own plant on Maryland's Eastern Shore in Salisbury, is the center of a major covid cluster. Nevertheless, the company chafes against those nosy parker doctors who keep workers off the line after exposure to an infected person.

"We cannot continue operations if employees are sent home by local clinics without firm diagnoses," Perdue Farms' chief medical advisor Roger Merrill wrote in an April 29 email to community health provider Eastern Shore Rural Health.

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coronavirus

House Democrats Leave Big Corporations, Cruise Ships Out Of New Worker Stimulus Proposal, RUDE!

Nancy Pelosi bringing the stimmy.

With Republicans dedicated to sitting on their asses while the country is experiencing Great Depression levels of unemployment, House Democrats are putting together a new economic stimulus package that would pump roughly $1.2 trillion into the economy. The proposal, which hasn't yet been finalized or translated into legislative language, would provide relief to state, local, and tribal governments, and would also boost support for hospitals, COVID-19 testing, and social services. If you liked your $1,200 stimmy check, you can have another direct payment (amount still not announced, though). And if you like having a US Postal Service (as literally included in the US Constitution), you can keep it, with spending aimed at keeping the Post Office afloat, too.

Since the Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are saying they prefer to wait and see if President Hoover's do-nothing policies end the Depression, the Democratic plan isn't likely to become law anytime soon, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week that sitting around and waiting isn't acceptable, so how about Congress does its job? The first stimmy was a good start, so let's do more, especially to help working people.

"We'll put a marker down that follows the lead of other bipartisan legislation that has been passed, with increased funding, because we haven't done enough testing," Mrs. Pelosi said on CSPAN on Friday.
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