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2 out of 3 Kroger workers in Southern California struggle to afford food and housing, survey finds

Jaimie Ding, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

Olsen works six hours a day, six days a week, and makes $14.25 an hour.

"I don't think that most of us are asking for anything more than just be paid what we're worth, paid fairly," Olsen said. "I shouldn't have to struggle like I do."

Workers' problems have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Robin White, who worked at a Ralphs in West Los Angeles, had her hours cut in half when the pandemic hit.

She could no longer afford rent and racked up more than $1,000 on her phone bill, which eventually went to collections. For a while, she slept in the car with her 9-year-old son, often in the parking lot at work.

Then she lost her car and moved in with her mother for a few months while trying to get it back.

 

"It's a game, I guess, they play and they'll give you an increase in pay like a dollar but then they'll snatch hours," White said. "So it's like you still don't make ends meet."

White, 35, recently transferred to a store in Moreno Valley so she could stay with a cousin.

Workers also reported inadequate security and staffing in the stores, and a failure to enforce health standards such as social distancing and mask-wearing among customers.

Kroger is one of the largest grocery chains in the U.S. and was the 17th-largest corporation in terms of revenue in 2021.

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