Grocers across the Southeast are showing appreciation for the hard work of their employees as they are on the front lines during the Covid-19 global pandemic. Associated Grocers is sharing the heroic efforts of its employees, Dollar Tree is rewarding its hourly workers and Lidl is enhancing its health benefits while planning to hire up to 1,000 temporary workers.
Associated Grocers says its employees are ‘supermarket heroes’
Associated Grocers Inc. in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has all hands on deck during the Covid-19 global pandemic. Employees at the member-owned wholesaler are working daily to keep their retailers’ shelves stocked with the food and essentials customers need during this crisis.
The company is calling its employees and its retailers supermarket heroes and has posted a message of appreciation on its Facebook page:
“At times like this, we are vividly reminded of the significance that Associated Grocers—our employees, management, staff and retailers—place on our core values. We are centered around service to others who need and rely upon our support and commitment. With a collective grateful heart, we thank you all for the opportunity to serve!”
Associated Grocers has 750 full-time employees and annual sales over $675 million.
Lidl to hire up to 1,000 temporary employees to help meet customer needs
To help meet the surging needs of customers amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Arlington, Virginia-based Lidl U.S. says it will hire up to 1,000 temporary employees across its store network and distribution centers for a minimum of two months. A listing of all the newly available positions at Lidl U.S. can be found at careers.lidl.com.
Under a first-in-the industry policy designed with CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the newly hired employees without health insurance will immediately be eligible for medical benefits covering testing and treatment related to Covid-19 at no cost. Current Lidl U.S. employees enrolled in company insurance plans will automatically receive the enhanced medical benefits package, which waives copayments, coinsurance and deductibles and includes virtual visits through the CareFirst Video Visit platform. There will be no waiting time to receive the insurance.
“Every day, our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our customers and our team, and that is our primary focus during this public health emergency,” said Lidl U.S. Chairman Roman Heini. “The new positions announced today will help us better meet the unprecedented needs of our customers. We are working hard to serve them and protect the health of our employees who are playing a critical role.”
This announcement is part of Lidl’s ongoing effort to offer one of the most generous benefits packages in the industry. In October 2019, Lidl U.S. announced that it will provide medical benefits for all full- and part-time employees, regardless of the number of hours they work per week.
Since rolling out the initiative, more than 1,200 employees working part-time have become eligible to buy into medical coverage through the company. Part-time employees also currently receive dental, vision, life insurance and 401(k) benefits.
Brian Pieninck, president and CEO of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, applauded the news.
“When Lidl U.S. asked us to help develop an enhanced plan to support their team amid the Covid-19 pandemic, we were honored to partner with them,” Pieninck said. “The services that Lidl and its employees provide are essential to our communities, especially during periods of great challenge and uncertainty. By offering comprehensive Covid-19 coverage, Lidl U.S. is demonstrating their commitment to put people first—a mission both CareFirst and Lidl share.”
Dollar Tree rewarding store, distribution hourly associates
Chesapeake, Virginia-based Dollar Tree Inc. is rewarding its hourly-paid store and distribution center (DC) associates with wage premiums effective March 8, and continuing through at least April 4.
“In recent weeks, our store and distribution teams have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to their communities by continuing to serve local customers with essential products in their time of need,” stated Betty Click, chief human resources officer. “These premium payments to our teams are in recognition of, and appreciation for, their dedication and efforts to serving Dollar Tree and Family Dollar shoppers.”
For at least four weeks, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar will pay every hourly-paid store associate reporting to the store manager, and every hourly-paid DC associate, a $2 per hour premium for all hours worked during the period. This represents a reward of approximately $30 million being paid to the company’s associates.
Additionally, until further notice, in an effort to help protect the most vulnerable population during this pandemic, the company is dedicating the stores’ first operational hours each day to at-risk customers, including senior citizens, individuals with pre-existing health conditions and pregnant women. The company urges all other customers to begin their shopping trips at least one hour after the stores open.
Dollar Tree and Family Dollar store teams also request that customers practice “social distancing” or limiting close contact as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The announcements follow company news communicated in the prior week that included the its decision to close all stores at 8 p.m. local time, until further notice, for enhanced cleaning protocols following CDC recommended guidelines and to re-stock shelves with essential products, and secondly, its initiative to hire 25,000 associates for its stores and DCs.
“I want to thank each of our associates, in the 15,000-plus stores, 24 DCs and our store support center, for their incredible efforts during this unprecedented time,” said CEO Gary Philbin. “Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores are committed to providing our customers in each of the neighborhoods we serve with safe and healthy environments while purchasing needed essentials at this critical time.”
To view a full list of positions currently available or to apply online, visit DollarTree.com/careers or www.FamilyDollar.com/careers.