1st Supermarket Employee Day Debuts

Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
1st Supermarket Employee Day Debuts
FMI has proclaimed Supermarket Employee Day to recognize associates at every level for the work they do feeding families and enriching lives.

Today marks the debut of Supermarket Employee Day. FMI — the Food Industry Association proclaimed Feb. 22 a holiday back in November as a time for the industry to recognize employees at every level for the work they do feeding families and enriching lives.

Six million supermarket employees come to work daily to keep shelves stocked with essential items in stores across the country. In spite of supply-chain disruptions or challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, supermarket employees have demonstrated heroic efforts to keep communities going. 

“Supermarket employees have earned our gratitude, which is why we are creating an annual holiday to celebrate them,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of Arlington, Virginia-based FMI. “The fact is that they always have been front-line heroes during periods of crisis. In the face of natural disasters and now especially during a global pandemic, these folks keep communities going.” 

FMI has created various tools and resources to help industry members celebrate the new holiday in varying ways to accommodate their individual brands and budgets. These tools include messaging, logos, proclamations, ideas for celebration tactics, infographics, templates for stickers, buttons, posters, press releases, and even methods to unlock talent and potential among teams. 

“Many thousands of industry members have been visiting FMI’s website and accessing our planning tools,” said Sarasin. “We know the food industry has a full spectrum of events planned, which include state and local proclamations for Supermarket Employees Day, programs that invite customers to nominate supermarket heroes, reward sweepstakes, video tributes, headquarter celebrations, appreciation campaigns throughout the supply chain, social media campaigns and lots of in-store activities.” 

FMI is encouraging the public to celebrate the day by posting messages on social media using the hashtags #SupermarketEmployeeDay and #SupermarketHeroes.

However, Supermarket Employee Day arrives amid controversary over pandemic pay. The California Grocers Association (CGA) recently filed federal lawsuits against the cities of San Leandro and West Hollywood to challenge recently approved pay mandates for some grocery store workers. According to Sacramento-based CGA, a recent study found that extra pay mandates of $5]/hour could raise consumer grocery prices by about $400 annually for the typical family of four. Alternatively, if grocers were forced to find offsetting savings in operational costs, it would mean a 22% across-the-board reduction in work hours, hurting the very workers these proposals aim to help.

FMI works with and on behalf of the entire industry to advance a safer, healthier and more efficient consumer food supply chain. The trade organization brings together a wide range of members across the value chain — from retailers that sell to consumers, to producers that supply food and other products, as well as the wide variety of companies providing critical services — to amplify the collective work of the industry. 

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