Most Americans have always thought of our first responders as being front line people. If you didn't think much about it before September 11th, chances are you certainly did afterward.

However, the coronavirus outbreak has pushed one category of workers to the forefront, as Americans try their best at social distancing. Grocery store workers are now considered "essential" personnel.

What a difference a year makes. It was less than a year ago that Stop & Shop workers were fighting for wage increases and to preserve their healthcare and retirement benefits. Now, justifiably, they are being categorized as essential.

Beyond that, Stop & Shop has decided to do the right thing and give their workers what amounts to hazard pay.

Over 70,000 workers across New England, New York and New Jersey will receive a 10 percent bump in their pay during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, should workers become sick, they will receive an additional two weeks of paid leave.

"This essential pay and benefit increase will not only protect these hard-working men and women, it will help protect the food supply throughout our communities," said United Food and Commercial Workers Union President Marc Perrone.

Good for Stop & Shop for doing the right thing and leading from the front. It has never been more apparent how important grocery stores and their workforce are to Americans. These people are putting their health and the health of their loved ones on the line each time they clock in to work – never mind the fact that every day at the grocery store this week has been like the day before Thanksgiving.

Offering them a temporary 10 percent raise is the right thing to do.

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