Grocery Stores Increase Employee Wages Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Albertsons Companies, Superior Grocers, as well as other national grocery chains, will temporarily raise employee wages to recognize their work at the forefront of store operations and their dedication amid the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

Albertsons Companies announced an Appreciation Pay program to all 230,000 non-union and union frontline associates. Structured to recognize the hard-working team members on the front lines, the company’s e-commerce pickers and drivers, store associates, distribution center associates and manufacturing plant associates will receive a temporary $2 per-hour-worked increase, above and beyond their regular hourly pay and overtime.

“In ways that we could not even imagine, overnight, our country changed – and as a result, it changed the way our teams conduct business,” said Vivek Sankaran, President & CEO.

“I am so proud to say our teams did not skip a step. In our manufacturing plants, distribution centers and in our stores, our associates are working tirelessly to serve our customers. They work every day to keep our communities fed, their pantries and medicine cabinets stocked, and to ensure one less worry on our customers’ minds as we all face this unprecedented pandemic.”  added Sankaran.

The temporary increase on employee wages, which was requested by the company’s division presidents and supported by the board of directors and the company’s owners, including Cerberus Capital Management, is effective March 15, 2020, until at least the end of the following pay period on March 28, for approximately 230,000 Albertsons associates. The company will continuously assess the situation and make the necessary changes, according to a statement.

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The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries, applauded the move by Safeway (which is owned by Albertsons Companies) to provide a $2 per hour increase in pay for its California grocery workers at Safeway, Vons, Albertsons, and Pavilions during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Safeway and the UFCW both recognize that grocery store workers are on the frontlines of this crisis. What Safeway did shows real leadership. We hope that this sends a message to every supermarket, grocery store, and food retail employer – union and non-union – across this country that it is time for every company to recognize the sacrifice America’s food workers are making,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone.

Likewise, Superior Grocers in California also announced that, as of March 23, 2020, it will be increasing store hourly employee wages temporarily by $2 per hour for the next four weeks.

Superior Grocers recognizes the efforts during these unprecedented times and is proud to reward their employees for their tireless dedication to keeping its stores running and servicing their customers, said the company.

“We know our employees are what makes us SUPERIOR and we are happy to be able to do this. We are extremely fortunate to have them as part of our team and feel this increase is well deserved. We thank them again for their contribution and dedication to Superior Grocers”, said Superior Grocers President, Richard Wardwell.

Trader Joe’s, Target, Whole Foods and the Texas-based H-E-B chain also reported that they are increasing employee wages by $2 an hour.

For their part, Kroger and Walmart announced that they will be offering a bonus payment program for their associates.

The two supermarket giants will be providing a $300 bonus for their full-time employees and $150 for part-time employees.

As part of the response to the coronavirus crisis, Walmart is also hiring 150,000 new associates to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers, and distribution centers. These roles will be temporary at first, but many will become permanent jobs over time, Walmart said in a statement.