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Stater Bros. Expands Wage Incentive, While Wakefern Checks Temps

Stater Bros. Expands Wage Incentive, While Wakefern Checks Temps
Along with receiving higher pay, frontline grocery workers are increasingly subject to measures like daily temperature checks

To reward employees for their hard work providing essential services to Southern California communities. Stater Bros. Markets is extending, through May 3, the $2-per-hour wage incentive for all hours worked for all of the company’s hourly employees in its stores, distribution, transportation, corporate offices and construction.

“The spirit of the Stater Bros. ‘Family’ has always been to do the right thing, for the right reason,” noted Stater Bros. CEO Pete Van Helden. “Our employees remain committed to helping our community during this difficult period. Many continue to work long hours to ensure the service to our customers remains uninterrupted. We are proud of our team and appreciate their extraordinary efforts in supporting our customers and communities.”

The grocery store chain’s current hours are 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily, with 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. dedicated exclusively for senior shoppers.

Over on the East Coast, members of the retailer-owned supermarket cooperative Wakefern Food Corp., will help protect associates and shoppers by implementing a temperature-monitoring program beginning the week of April 12.

Under the initiative, all stores and warehouses will use non-contact forehead infrared thermometers to take the temperatures of associates and vendors as they report for work. Anyone with fever will be sent home.  

Seattle-based Amazon and its Whole Foods Market subsidiary were among the first food retailers to establish temperature checks of employees. 

“These are extraordinary times, and we are committed to protecting our associates and customers as we keep our stores open to serve our communities,” said Wakefern Chairman and CEO Joe Colalillo. “We are closely monitoring the fast-moving COVID-19 emergency and all new recommendations and CDC protocols, and using that information to guide our decisions. We are proud of our hard-working associates and doing everything we can to support them and keep them safe as they work on the front lines of this public health crisis.”

The cooperative’s other safety measures include installing plexiglass shields at cash registers, customer service counters and pharmacies across all of its banners; limiting occupancy during peak shopping hours; having all store associates wear face coverings; emphasizing social distancing with signage, in-store announcements and floor markers; shopping hours or designated checkout lanes for seniors and other vulnerable customers; and rigorous cleaning and sanitization.

Further, customers who bring their own bags to shop are asked to bag their own orders, with associates only permitted pack a customer’s order using store-provided bags.

The largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States, Wakefern comprises 50 members that independently own and operate 354 supermarkets under the ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer, Price Rite Marketplace and Dearborn Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Virginia. Together with its member companies, Wakefern, which is No. 8 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States, employs more than 70,000 people, and is one of the largest employers in New Jersey.

The largest privately owned supermarket chain in Southern California, San Bernardino-based Stater Bros. operates 169 supermarkets and has more than 18,000 associates. The company is No. 23 on PG’s 2019 Super 50 list, while Amazon, under its Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market banner, is No. 10.

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