Wegmans Food Markets and Wakefern Food Corp. have launched major hiring programs as the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak hikes consumer demand and requires retailers to take extensive safety measures in stores and warehouses.
Wegmans said yesterday it aims to fill more than 500 part- and full-time jobs in New Jersey and another 400-plus part- and full-time positions in Massachusetts. The Rochester, N.Y.-based grocer has nine stores in New Jersey and six in Massachusetts.
“In addition to supporting our local food banks, we’re fortunate to be in a position to offer employment to those who are unexpectedly out of work. If you see yourself as a fit for Wegmans, whether it’s temporarily or long-term, we want you on the team,” Joe Sofia, New Jersey division manager at Wegmans, said in a statement.
Wegmans said available jobs include cashiers, stocking, overnight operations and entry-level management. The company noted that it has expedited its hiring process to bring on new employees as soon as possible.
“Even as we look to grow our team, the health and safety of all Wegmans customers and employees remains a top priority,” commented Kelly Schoeneck, New England division manager for Wegmans.
“We are humbled by our amazing employees who continue to show up for their colleagues and our customers every day,” she added. “We’re looking for compassionate people who want to help make a tangible difference during this difficult time and beyond.”
Overall, Wegmans operates 101 supermarkets in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina.
Wegmans reported that it’s hiring for part- and full-time positions at all of its stores, warehouses and replenishment centers. A company spokeswoman, however, wasn’t able to provide the total number of jobs the retailer seeks to fill.
“During these uncertain times, our stores continue to hire for positions throughout all our markets,” she said.
Meanwhile, Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern on Wednesday announced a “major hiring push” with members of the retail cooperative to fill a range of jobs at stores and warehouses to help meet what the company called a “dramatic increase in demand resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Store associates across the co-op’s five retail banners — ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer, Price Rite Marketplace, Dearborn Market and Gourmet Garage — and their warehouses aim to fill hundreds of positions to ensure communities have access to fresh food and other daily staples, Wakefern said.
“We recognize the pivotal role our supermarkets are playing by providing the essentials people need to take care of themselves and their families. For nearly 75 years, Wakefern has never wavered from our commitment to serve the neighborhoods where our stores operate, and we’re looking for motivated team members who share those same values,” Chairman and CEO Joe Colalillo.
Wakefern noted that the goal is to keep stores fully staffed and provide “the best possible service” to customers and the communities where the stores operate.
“We see our customers turning to us for the food, supplies and reassurance they need during this difficult time. Our associates are providing that support as they work hard to keep all our store shelves stocked with fresh produce, meat, seafood and fresh baked goods so people can care for their families the way they always have,” Colalillo commented. “We are grateful and inspired by their work during this challenging and unprecedented time.”
Wakefern’s 51 independent grocery members own and operate 354 supermarkets in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
Also to support workers, Wakefern last week announced a $2-per-hour wage premium. The pay bonus went into effect on March 22. New associates may also benefit from enhanced sick leave and attendance policies aimed at assisting with financial and health concerns, the company said.
“They work tirelessly on the frontlines to provide an essential service to our communities,” added Colalillo. “We hope these steps will assist them with their immediate financial and health concerns.”
Wegmans, too, is boosting employee support during the pandemic. For March and April, part- and full-time associates will receive an extra $2 per hour, “as a thank you to our employees who are working tirelessly to serve the needs of our customers,” Wegmans said.
In addition, Wegmans said its COVID-19 disability paid sick leave “goes a step further” than its current disability paid sick leave by providing a higher rate of pay, starting on day one, and eliminating the need for medical documentation from the health care provider.
“We’ve also made every effort to accommodate employees who are more vulnerable by offering them the opportunity to move into different roles,” Wegmans added. “Our COVID-19 job-protected voluntary leave gives employees the opportunity to take time unpaid if they are uncomfortable being at work.”
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