Right now, I’m sure you all have lots of questions about how the company is handling this virus and what rights you have. We have been working with the company to make sure that everyone is kept as safe as possible, and address any concerns for safety that come up.
Some of the top concerns that we have received from the membership are:
Does my store have to notify me if one of my co-workers tests positive for the virus?
Yes, your store management team should notify anyone who may have been exposed to the virus, but due to HIPPA laws, the store cannot identify the member, unless the member gives permission. We do believe that it is also the store’s responsibility to try to notify any member of the general public who may have come into contact with the sick associate.
Does my store have to shut down if someone in the store tests positive?
While some employers must shut down, as mandated by state and federal regulations, grocery stores are not mandated to shut down. However, the company has assured us that they are working with the local boards of health, and complying with the CDC regulations for properly cleaning and sanitizing, or discarding any products and/or surfaces that the infected member may have come into contact with while at work.
Minimum wage concerns:
On January 1st, 2020, the state minimum wage went up to 12.75/ hour. While this is great for newly hired workers, its not so great for existing and long-term employees who are already above minimum wage. This is an ongoing argument that we will continue to have every time the minimum wage increases. To offset these increases, we have an agreement with the company for a wage compression adjustment this year, in addition to your general wage increases.
If you have not seen the compression rates, please see below for the chart which indicates what level of an adjustment you will receive based on your years of service with the company:
Stop and Shop Member update:
Today all members should have received the 10% hazard pay increase in their paychecks. The 10% increase is listed on a separate line on pay stubs with the label: “Nat Emer Pay”. If you do not see this listed on your paycheck/stub, please email me with your full name and store location number so that I can get your pay issue resolved.
All transportation employees will continue to be paid while schools are closed, and they are also being given trainings to do at home as part of the compliance to maintain their licenses.
After discussions with management at Wild Oats Co-Op, please see the statement below:
As you know, things are very hectic right now for all grocery workers. Wild Oats members have been going above and beyond to support your community during this trying time. We are expecting things to keep changing quickly, even if we don’t exactly know what the coming days will look like we will continue to be here for you through these times, no matter how crazy things may get.
In order to thank you all for all of your continued hard work, Wild Oats has agreed to provide you all with a temporary $2/hour pay premium for the current and following pay periods (retroactive to March 15, four weeks total for now). While they don’t know for sure what the situation will be in the coming weeks (and it seems likely that we’ll all still be living in these unusual times) they are offering to extend the premium into at least the next pay period.
Also, the Co-Op will continue to excuse employees who need to be absent for reasons related to COVID-19 (either their own or a family member’s) and will be providing paid leave to eligible employees under the new federal legislation, should that be necessary.
Beyond that we will work together to assess things week to week, and will definitely keep you all up to date on any new updates.
Stop & Shop is offering for employees to apply for Leave of Absence if the employee doesn’t feel comfortable working. Trying to get Stop & Shop to provide gloves, sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizers to everyone.
Wild Oats is currently providing gloves to workers. Also started curbside pick-up to limit exposure for employees. Wild Oats is allowing employees to participate in “compassionate time off pool”.