As workers in “essential” logistics fields—from warehouses to cargo ports to truck cabs— keep reporting to work despite widespread business closures and travel bans, some employers are boosting their wages to compensate for stressful conditions and increased exposure to the deadly coronavirus.
Employees at some facilities have even walked off the job in recent days, causing delays at the Instacart grocery delivery business, an amazon.com inc. warehouse, and several Whole Foods Market supermarkets.
Many employers now see salary raises as a move that could prevent such labor disruption, compensate workers for healthcare costs if they do fall sick, and acknowledge the impact of working under increased physical and emotional strain. The cash payments follow other common coronavirus-related business costs, such as providing free health screenings, paid time off for sick employees, or free protective gear such as hand sanitizer and gloves.
Truckload, logistics, and intermodal provider J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. last week announced it would provide a one-time bonus of $500 for drivers and personnel at field operations and customer facilities supporting the drivers who have kept the country’s freight moving during the Covid-19 pandemic. The bonus was available to employee drivers, as well as field employees and managers in terminals, intermodal ramps, maintenance shops, “dedicated contract service” account locations, and final mile distribution centers who directly support drivers.
“All of our employees have gone above and beyond the call to action during this crisis. And nearly all of our field-level, front-line employees and certainly all of our drivers are required in person and have upheld the high standards of our company,” J.B. Hunt President and CEO John Roberts said in a release.”They have kept pace with the evolving supply chain needs of our customers in the face of great uncertainty.”
Other examples of recent raises for “essential” logistics laborers include mega-retailer Walmart, which said it is giving a “special cash bonus” to all hourly associates and accelerating the company first quarter bonus for all hourly associates.
Grocery retailer The Kroger Co. said today it will pay a “hero bonus” of a $2 premium above its standard base rate of pay, applied to hours worked March 29 through April 18 – for all hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy, and call center associates. That follows its announcement of an April 3 one-time bonus paid to frontline associates.
Another grocery powerhouse, C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., said Monday it will provide frontline workers with a “special appreciation bonus” and all employees with additional paid time off (PTO) in the wake of challenges caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
And the food and beverage company Nestlé Canada announced a temporary increase of $3 per hour for its factory and distribution center employees across the country. The company also promised up to twelve weeks' full pay for all hourly and salaried staff, in the event of any temporary shutdown related to Covid-19.
"As a leading food and beverage company, we are an essential service and have a critical role to play in delivering the products that Canadians depend on. Our factory and warehouse employees, who are at the heart of our organization, are making an incredible difference during this time and because of them, our products continue to be available to Canadians," Jeff Hamilton, President and CEO of Nestlé Canada, said in a release.
To see further coverage of the coronavirus crisis and how it's affecting logistics issues across the industry, check out:
• our dedicated landing page for the latest journalism by DC Velocity’s team of editors, and
• our compilation of virus-focused websites and resource pages from around the supply chain sector.
Over the past weeks, our associates have shown us the true meaning of the word hero. To recognize their hard work, the Kroger Family of Companies is providing a Hero Bonus of $2/hour in addition to their base pay for the next three weeks. Learn more: https://t.co/zROeM2dYsg pic.twitter.com/o4dAZrQlaA— Kroger News (@KrogerNews) April 1, 2020