Earlier this month, Stater Bros. Markets announced it would reinstate hazard pay in the amount of $2 an hour for its 18,000 grocery workers across 170 supermarkets in California. But as the Golden State’s COVID cases approach 2 million and its hospitalization rates surge, the risk to essential grocery workers is prompting local government and grocery chains to reevaluate compensation.
The San Bernardino, Calif.-based Stater Bros. recently decided to extend its additional $2-an-hour incentive for every hour worked for an additional two weeks, starting on the work period beginning Dec. 27, 2020. This incentive will apply to all of the company’s hourly employees that work in the stores, distribution, transportation, corporate offices and construction, the company said.
“I am extremely proud of our employees who remain dedicated to serving the needs of our Southern California shoppers. This incentive recognizes our employees for their ongoing extraordinary efforts during the holidays,” said Stater Bros. CEO Pete Van Helden in a statement.
Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y Foods Inc., one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, said it will be paying additional holiday bonuses to its front-line and distribution center associates including full-time, part-time and casual employees.
“This holiday bonus is part of the company’s ongoing recognition and appreciation for the efforts and sacrifices of employees which was instituted last March. Thank you bonuses are expected to continue during the first part of 2021,” the company said.
“We continue to be grateful to all of our employees for their valiant efforts throughout this pandemic. They have all taken their role as essential workers both nobly and carefully in order to continue to provide for and support our friends and neighbors in our communities,” said Charles L. D’Amour, president and CEO, in a statement. “I am so very proud of their resilience and dedication to serving our customers during this past year. This bonus pay is just one way that we show our appreciation to our team of 12,000 who work so hard and tirelessly every day.”
While grocers across the country have approached hazard pay and worker compensation in a variety of ways from bonuses for Walmart employees to retroactive hazard pay for ShopRite workers, a California municipality has made a move to bump up grocery worker “hero pay” an additional $4 an hour.
This week, the Long Beach City Council passed a resolution that would require the $4-an-hour increase for all front-line grocery employees working in large supermarkets in the Southern California city. Companies with at least 300 employees nationwide would be required to pay the extra $4 per hour for at least 120 days, after which the ordinance would come back to the city council for a possible extension, reported a local NBC news affiliate.
The resolution was introduced to the City Council by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324.