Hailed as “heroes” at the onset of the pandemic, supermarket employees now say they are overworked, overwhelmed and feeling expendable again. (Paige Stampatori for The Washington Post)
This spring, for the first time, Angel Manners found purpose and pride at the supermarket where she has worked the past decade. Customers praised her as a hero for putting herself at risk during the pandemic. Bosses boosted her hourly pay by $2. Suddenly, her job was essential.
Nearly five months in, and it is all gone.
“We’ve lost our hazard pay, and people are quitting every day,” said Manners, 43, who processes vendor deliveries at a Meijer store in northern Kentucky. “Those of us who are left are really stretched thin — working so much harder for $11.50 an hour.”
Grocery workers across the country say morale is crushingly low as the pandemic wears on with no end in sight. Overwhelmed employees are quitting mid-shift. Those who remain say they are overworked, taking on extra hours, enforcing mask requirements and dealing with hostile customers. Most retailers have done away with hazard pay even as workers remain vulnerable to infection, or worse. Employees who took sick leave at the beginning of the pandemic say they cannot afford to take unpaid time off now, even if they feel unwell. Read more >>