Albertsons and Vons agreed to raise wages temporarily for Southern California employees by $2 per hour, according to a union news release on March 19.

The Southern California United Food and Commercial Workers Locals, based in Bloomington, said that the increased pay was justified because shopping -- and profits -- have surged for grocery retailers since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This global health crisis underscores the essential support to our communities provided by grocery workers, pharmacists, delivery drivers, food processors and others courageously rising to meet the challenges of this outbreak. Increasing pay for those on the front lines is critical,” said Joe Duffle, president of UFCW Local 1167.

Duffle said that grocery store workers remain the lifeline to the public, going to work every day. Without special training in public health or disease prevention, stockers, checkers and others who keep the grocery stores open for shoppers are suddenly first responders, he said.

“We are all concerned about keeping our families safe and continuing to pay the rent and care for our kids who are out of school.The stress on grocery workers is incredible," said UFCW Local 1167 member Herman Ortega. "We have been asking the major retailers, who are doubling and tripling their profits right now, to recognize that workers need increased pay, increased safety measures and more flexible schedules. We are pleased that they are listening to us."

Fontana's Vons market is located at 7390 Cherry Avenue.

----- ON MARCH 20, Stater Bros. announced that its workers would also get a temporary raise.

Beginning March 23, all of the company's hourly employees working in the stores, distribution, transportation, corporate offices, and construction will receive a wage increase of $2 per hour for the subsequent four weeks.

“We applaud Stater Bros. for meeting the challenges facing our members during this global health crisis. It has set the bar for all other companies to follow,” Duffle said.

“Stater Bros. sends a strong message to the employees, members of our union, that the company appreciates them. It recognizes the courage regularly displayed to overcome extreme pressures and personal risks while serving our customers in times of need. These actions underscore the type of leadership we need to get through this crisis."

Several Stater Bros. stores are located in Fontana.

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