Grocery chain Kroger has come under some scrutiny for gun policies while their workforce is scheduled for thousands of additions. A grassroots movement has begun to bring awareness to the chain of stores and their processes of allowing and turning away customers. These inquiries stem from statistics that depict the store as an infamously popular place for shootings to occur. Despite that controversy, the country-wide grocery chain is preparing for growth in the form of permanent positions in their locations within 34 states, a large chunk of which will be aimed at the company’s home state of Ohio.
Gun control is a center of focus for a group of mothers that are fighting against gun violence, and have set their sights on the major grocery store chain. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which is backed financially by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will use media attention and other tactics to try to persuade Kroger to change their policy on allowing people to carry guns into their establishments. Newspaper ads and billboards in support of this move to ban guns being brought into Kroger stores by the public have been promised in their corporate hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio with the costs being somewhere in the six-figure range, according to the Moms Demand Action parent company.
The advertisement, itself, has already caused many to question Kroger and their ineffective job at adding to their gun policy. It shows a depiction, which will be used across all of the promised mediums in unison, of a woman with an assault rifle in her hands standing next to a shirtless man in the middle of what appears to be a grocery aisle.
Above their heads is a caption that asks the reader to guess which of the two isn’t allowed inside a Kroger. According to founder Shannon Watts, this image shows the “stark contrast” in a policy that aims to keep out skateboards and inappropriate attire, but does nothing to halt the ingress of a loaded weapon.
Mothers Demand Action has made similar moves against many other businesses nation-wide in order to limit the venues that seem to have the most gun-related violence. This action was first announced two weeks ago, along with their demand that these policies shift. The group has cited shootings that happened within proximity of America’s largest grocery chain and how those could be avoided.
The Kroger company almost immediately responded, saying their course of action and polices on allowing people to carry guns into their stores would continue to abide by local gun laws. The statement added that asking their employees to remove weapons from incoming customers would be “dangerous and impractical.”
Kroger is also enacting an expansion of jobs at the same time that their gun policy is being questioned. Overall, the grocery chain looks to add 20,000 employees to their 2,500 locations by the end of October. Of that number, about a tenth of them will be reserved for the 100 stores between the Cincinnati and Dayton area that currently employ over 20,000 workers, according to internal estimates.
Entry-level positions at Kroger stores are expected to earn minimum wage, which varies by state, but can go up based on experience. According to Kroger, over 40,000 jobs have been created by the chain over the past six years. Katy Barclay, a senior vice president of human resources for the chain, says the company’s growth trajectory creates “more job opportunities for current and future employees.”
By Myles Gann