As demand ramped up during the pandemic in March, Kroger Co. (KR  ) quickly hired roughly 100,000 new employees. They have announced they will also be extending the company's "hero pay" to these new hires in the form of lump-sum payments. Previously, this hero's pay was scheduled to end in mid-May, but Kroger reversed this decision after push-back from Unions.

"Grocery workers are on the frontlines, ensuring Americans have access to the food and products they need during this unprecedented pandemic," read a statement released by Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen. "Our associates are working around the clock to keep our stores open for our customers. I am incredibly grateful for all they are doing. The true heroes in this story are our associates, and we want to provide them with additional resources and support to help them continue their remarkable effort."

Kroger is one of many companies trying to keep their employees returning to work despite the risk. Kroger paid its first "one-time" bonus in late March. That bonus amounted to $300 for full-time employees and $150 for part-timers. The bonus was available for all employees hired on or before March 1. This lump sum was intended to cover the pay period from March 8 to March 28.

Now, the store says they will be giving another bonus payment for the months of May and June. Specifically, the store will give a $400 bonus for full-time workers and $200 for part-time. These bonuses are to be paid out in two installments on May 30 and June 18. Kroger was willing to provide this pay only after facing significant criticism from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).

"We appreciate the additional compensation for our members... COVID-19 is not going away soon," UFCW Local 75 President Kevin Garvey told reporters. "Our members still have to work in the same conditions and deal with the same pressures. They are worth every penny of the $2 premium and the (latest) bonus."

Kroger employs 540,000 workers across 35 states. They operate a collection of supermarket chains including Ralphs, Mariano's, Fry's, Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Smith's, King Soopers, QFC, Gerbes, and more.