Feb. 22 Is National Supermarket Employee Day

22 Feb Feb. 22 Is National Supermarket Employee Day

Today is National Supermarket Employee Day. Altogether, there are nearly six million employees in the U.S. food industry. And, one of the many issues brought to light was the need for top corporations to pay these workers more. 

There was no stay-at-home option for the essential workers who stock the shelves, prepare food, and set up safe shopping experiences to make sure communities get the nourishment and products they need as the pandemic continues to unfold. 

Their sacrifices must be compensated, yet many corporations retaliated against measures to increase their pay. Take Kroger’s response to the “Hero Pay” ordinance passed by the LA City Council in March 2021, which added an additional $5.00 per hour to the wages of non-exempt employees. This was an important recognition and acknowledgment of essential workers’ efforts, but instead of implementing it, Kroger, the parent company of Ralphs and Food 4 Less, decided to close down three locations. 

One of those locations was in South LA at 3300 West Slauson Ave. in Hyde Park. That’s unacceptable, especially given the dearth of healthy eating options and grocery stores in our communities to begin with. 

“Food Desert to Food Oasis: Promoting Grocery Store Development in South Los Angeles,” a 2010 study that found South L.A. had only 60 full-service grocery stores for the area’s 1.3 million residents. The same study found the rate of obesity in South L.A. is more than triple the rate in West L.A.   
Food Deserts In Los Angeles

The closure of the Hyde Park store amplifies the many difficulties residents who don’t have cars go through when trying to access healthy food choices. “We are in desperate need of real grocery markets in the area that is welcoming to families, provide healthy food choices, and that support a safer environment than local liquor stores where we are forced to shop,” said CoCo member Maria Rutledge.

In response, CoCo put together a list of Black & Brown-owned grocery options for South LA residents to support.

Black & Brown Food Sources in South LA

While we can’t control the decision-making of greedy corporations, we CAN control where we spend our money. By supporting these small businesses, we’re helping to create jobs and keep money right here in South LA as opposed to corporate executives looking out for their shareholders and padding their own bonus checks. What’s also in our control is our ongoing advocacy and support of local measures and ordinances that protect and raise the wages of essential workers.

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