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“There’s more to come:” Union president tests COVID-19 positively for local Kroger employee

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Poeple was waiting in line at the Kroger in Blue Ash early Tuesday for the store to open with freshly stocked shelves. Many grocery stores have empty shelves because people store food and supplies due to coronavirus and quarantine issues.

Cincinnati Enquirer

On Friday, three employees from Kroger Co. – one in Finneytown, Middletown and Harrison – tested positive for COVID-19, according to Kevin Garvey, president of Local 75 of the United Food and Commercial Workers (TUAC).

The workers were sent home for two weeks paid sick leave, said Garvey. All sites have been disinfected according to guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We support them and wish them all the best in their recovery,” Erin Rolfes, head of corporate affairs for Kincer’s Cincinnati-Dayton division. wrote in an email on Sunday.

[ This story is being provided for free to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Enquirer at cincinnati.com/subscribe. ]

The stores are:

  • 10477 Harrison Ave., Harrison.
  • 3420 Towne Boulevard, Middletown.
  • 8421 Winton Road, Finneytown.

Rolfes said she could not disclose the names of the workers or the departments in which they worked. Experts say there is currently no evidence that the disease can be transmitted through food or packaging.

Garvey said employers are responding to the pandemic by installing barricades, placing stickers on the floor to encourage the six-foot distance, creating one-way aisles and limiting the number of people in a store at any time .

“Before all of this, we have put in place these policies and procedures to take care of our members and employees in the event of a positive test or exposure of any kind,” he said.

The 30,000-member union represents Kroger and other supermarkets, pharmacies, food processors, health care facilities and packaging plants across Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

“All of our employers we deal with, Kroger being the largest signatory employer, have stepped up their financial efforts and are paying their workers extra pay,” said Garvey.

Garvey said that the number of people contracting the virus is increasing and that union members are putting themselves at risk every day because they are considered essential employees.

“I assure you there will be more positive tests to come,” he said. “They are not going to close the stores because of public demand for products. Even with social isolation, everyone hangs out in grocery stores. These (members) are basically exposed every day. They are in the middle of it all. ”

Calls to Meijer were not immediately returned.

Read or share this story: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2020/04/05/theres-more-come-union-president-local-kroger-employee-positive-test-covid-19/ 2950251001 /

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