US Retail Chain Kroger Releases Memo: No More Health Benefits for Unvaccinated Employees

Kroger, a popular brand when it comes to groceries retail and pharmacy. After Walmart, they are the second-largest general retailer in the United States. They have stores in 35 states plus Washington DC and they are present in 2,868 locations including 2,726 supermarkets and 142 jewelers as of Q3, 2021.

Kroger is the largest supermarket by revenue, in 2029, it had a revenue of $121.16 billion. It’s a fortune 500 company ranked no 23. It’s the seventh-largest American-owned private employer of labor with 465,000 employees in 2020. Kroger also operates some other grocery companies including Fred Meyer, Ralphs, and Food 4 Less.

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Carrot and Stick Motivation.

Kroger is using the carrot and sticks motivation to encourage their staff to get vaccinated. The carrot is a reported reward of $100 for anyone who gets vaccinated. The stick is punishment for those who fail to get the vaccination. It’s all in a bid to motivate their staff towards getting vaccinated.

Talking of punishments; Wall Street Journal obtained a company a Kroger’s memo where they have stated they will remove paid health benefits and charge a health insurance surcharge next year to employees who are not vaccinated against Covid-19.

Also from January 1, 2022, unvaccinated Kroger employees will no longer be eligible for two weeks of emergency paid leave if they are infected with Covid-19.

The ball is now in the court of Kroger Workers. Anyone who is not motivated with a carrot will be motivated with a stick. No more free health insurance; unvaccinated workers and not part of a union will now have to pay an extra $50 a month for company health insurance.

Someone commented on Twitter

“So more infected people will show up for work because they can’t afford to take time off to recover. Great,”

The idea might not be for infected workers to come to work being infected by COVID-19; the Idea might be, infected workers will not be able to come to not come to work and still get paid using the 2 weeks of emergency paid leaf. There is an underlining effect to this, an unvaccinated worker who did not come to work or was sent back home for COVID infection reasons will be treated as absconding duty and will be dealt with according to the company’s policy.

According to data collected from From Our World in Data, as of 15th December 2021, 72.8%(239,975,167) of American adults have taken at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, 61.1%(201,292,080) are fully vaccinated, 17%(55,988,563) have received a booster. This means we have 27.2% of American adults who are yet to be vaccinated.

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Reason People Refuse Vaccination

Religions reasons, medical issues, concerns about side effects, belief in the conspiracy theories, little trust in the vaccines or the companies that produced them.

Religions Exemptions

Some Americans want to be exempted from taking the vaccine because they said it is against their religious beliefs. In a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), Only 10% of Americans believe that getting COVID-19 vaccine conflicts with their religious beliefs, and 59% of Americans say too many people are using religious beliefs as an excuse not to get vaccinated, Just 39% of Americans support a blanket religious exemption excuse, meaning that anyone who says the vaccine is against their faith doesn’t have to get it.

But 51% of Americans are in favor of granting a religious exemption if the person has documentation from a faith leader saying that the vaccine goes against their religious beliefs.

Not Just Kroger.

Using punishment as a motivation for workers to take the vaccine is not just Kroger, top companies like Google, Apple, JPMorgan are all in the business of using Punishment as motivation, even Schools.

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