Julie Kushner

State Senator

Julie Kushner

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together for Progress

July 7, 2020

Sen. Kushner Urges Stop & Shop To Continue Hazard Pay For Store Employees

DANBURY – Citing the ongoing nature of the coronavirus pandemic and the mandated public health guidelines still in place across the state, state Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) today joined her Senate Democratic Caucus leadership in urging the Stop & Shop chain of grocery stores to continue the COVID-19 hazard pay it had been providing its frontline workers since April, but which Stop & Shop just cancelled on Independence Day, July 4.

“There are Stop & Shops in Danbury, New Fairfield, Ridgefield, New Milford and Newtown that still require shoppers and employees to wear face masks, to maintain six feet of space between each other, to travel one-way down aisles, and that have large plexiglass dividers between customers and checkout clerks. Why? Because the coronavirus is still a threat in Connecticut. And if it’s still a threat, then these essential frontline workers still deserve hazard pay for putting themselves at risk,” Sen. Kushner said. “Just a few weeks ago, Stop & Shop corporate officials were demanding that federal and state governments declare their employees as ‘extended first responders’ or ‘emergency personnel’ so they could have priority access to COVID-19 testing and emergency childcare. That was the right thing to do, but their status as essential frontline workers hasn’t changed. So this hazard pay program should continue.”

Senate President Martin Looney (D-New Haven) and Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) today took issue with Stop & Shop’s corporate decision to prematurely end the surplus pay program for its employees, which was implemented at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. They said while transmission of the coronavirus has declined in Connecticut, COVID-19 transmissions continue across the state to this day, and that puts grocery store workers on the pandemic front line.

In April, Stop & Shop implemented a 10 percent “appreciation pay” increase for employees in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island; that program ended on July 4.

Last year, Sen. Kushner joined striking Stop & Shop workers on the picket line when Stop & Shop proposed a new labor contract requiring greater employee contributions to healthcare, changes to Sunday premium pay, and a reduction in pension benefits for new employees.

Earlier this year, after the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Sen. Kushner promoted Stop & Shop’s new store policy of opening from 6 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. exclusively for people age 60 and over, who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus.

The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, headquartered in Quincy, Massachusetts, has $13 billion in annual sales and employs 170,000 people in more than 400 stores throughout New York, New England and New Jersey. Stop & Shop controls 21% of the grocery store market in both Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Sen. Kushner urged individuals who believe that the Stop & Shop employee appreciation pay program should continue to speak with their local Stop & Shop store manager, or to call Stop & Shop’s corporate customer relations department at 1-800-767-7772, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.