Kroger (the corporate owners of City Market) has now ended the $2 per hour “hero bonus” hazard pay ($16 per day—wow!) and extra benefits they had given their line employees earlier in the pandemic.
Meanwhile, their six top executives received $52,327,630 compensation for 2019 (that’s an average of $23,894 per day for each)—some of it as recently as this March. And, I’m sure those execs aren’t working up a sweat or putting themselves at risk teleconferencing from their mansions or executive suites.
This pandemic has exposed the fact that health care workers, truck drivers, clerks, warehouse workers, retail workers, farmworkers, garbage handlers, plumbers, utility workers, teachers, mechanics, carpenters and the government workers who deliver our mail, supply our water, dispose of our sewage, pave our roads, abate mosquitoes, bury our dead, police our streets and put out fires are far more important than the executives, celebrities, professional politicians and pundits, real estate moguls and others of the wealthy class.
We allow the wealthy to take from our labor because we have been fooled into believing that we live in a meritocracy where wealth equals worth. Fact is, the wealthy have gained mostly by the luck of being born into the right family or by moving paper and manipulating the economic or political systems. If any—such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk—did happen to have inventive ideas, they have been willing to sacrifice their workers to realize those ideas and amass more billions for themselves.
It is a lie pushed by the media and the privileged that “we are all in this together.” The working class and unemployed are suffering in reality. The wealthy are either suffering not at all or only on paper. We must raise wages and employ the unemployed to rebuild our infrastructure and provide clean energy. We must open up vacant housing for the homeless, give food to all who need it, give every household a computer and internet access, forgive rent and mortgage payments for those with hardship and ban evictions and utility cut-offs for non-payment. We must provide universal health care, medical and family leave, and retirement benefits; and we must tax big business and the wealthy to do these things.
We must also insist that, to protect each other during this pandemic, all workers and customers wear masks and follow physical distancing and other guidelines when inside business establishments. Wearing a mask does not mean you are weak or fearful. Wearing a mask in public shows that you are not a jerk and you care about others.
So, wear a mask, support rent and worker strikes, support good businesses, boycott or confront non-compliant businesses, boycott City Market and Amazon until they treat their workers properly, and insist that our governments bail out the workers and the unemployed instead of the corporations and the wealthy.