Employees of the largest grocery stores in the St. Louis area will receive raises or bonuses of $2 to $3 per hour to compensate them for their work during the coronavirus pandemic, a union official said Wednesday.
“My members working in the stores are working harder than ever before,” said David Cook, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655, in an announcement of the bonuses. “The public is relying on their local grocery store to provide them with food and supplies at this critical juncture.”
Cook called the increases “greatly appreciated and absolutely deserved for these hard-working heroes.”
Dierbergs has agreed to pay an extra $2 an hour, and $3 per hour for overtime. Straub’s has agreed to pay an additional $2 per hour, but the details have not yet been worked out, the union said.
In a letter posted Wednesday, Schnucks said full time employees would get a $500 bonus and part-timers would get $250.
Dierbergs said in a statement Tuesday said its employees have been “working tirelessly, and with great dedication.” The company also announced it would be offering “leave support pay” to employees for specific COVID-19 related medical issues. Both the bonus and the support pay apply to workers hired on March 1 or before.
The union said the average total compensation for a grocery employee in the union will be about $22 an hour.
Target last week announced a $2 boost for workers.
Grocery stores and other retailers have been hiring amid an unprecedented demand sparked by the new coronavirus.
The union has so far unsuccessfully sought to have workers designated as first-responders to give them greater access to COVID-19 tests and safety equipment.
In a separate announcement, the UFCW said that more than 40,000 workers in meat packing and food processing businesses around the country were receiving pay increases or additional benefits because of their essential role in the food supply chain.