A message from our General Manager
For the most up-to-date information about the Co-op's response to the COVID-19 outbreak, please see our main COVID-19 page.
UPDATED April 28, 2020
Staff Appreciation Bonus extended through May 16.
UPDATED MARCH 30, 2020
To our community,
We are excited to share an update on staff compensation from today’s meeting between the Union Executive Board and Management teams. At today’s session, we reached a Memorandum of Understanding with our Union team, outlining a series of additional appreciation bonuses. We recognize the incredible effort of our staff during this challenging time and as such have worked with the Union Executive Board to formalize an agreement that provides additional compensation for staff.
As part of this agreement, all Collective Bargaining Unit employees who are employed as of March 28, 2020 or after, are eligible for bonus pay starting (retroactively) on March 15th and lasting through May 2nd of 2020. Each employee will receive an appreciation bonus of $120 per pay period (weekly) based on a 40-hour work week.
Both teams also agreed to meet and further discuss the contents of the MOU if Governor Scott’s State of Emergency declaration is extended further.
We want to thank the Union Executive Board and Management Teams and more broadly, our entire staff for their incredible efforts these past few weeks. There is no doubt that these are trying times and we’re hopeful that we can continue to work together as we navigate changes to operations and our evolving role as a community resource. We will continue to work to provide a safe and welcoming space for our staff, customers, and Members that embodies our cooperative spirit.
MARCH 29, 2020
To our community,
We, like many of you, recognize the incredible hard work of our Co-op staff during this time. There is no doubt that this is a challenging time to come to work and be one of the few places where our community members are still able to visit. We recognize that there are many unknowns at this time and that staff and community members alike are experiencing feelings of fear and uncertainty.
As a Co-op, community is at the core of everything that we do. Over the past week, we have received a number of calls, e-mails, and social media messages from our community members expressing their disappointment that Co-op employees are not receiving “hazard pay.” We know that this outpouring of support for our employees is coming from that same sense of community that makes the Co-op, and more broadly Burlington, such a special place. At the same time, we think it is important to ensure that our community members know that we have been in consistent communication with our staff, including members of our Union’s Executive Board to address their concerns and provide the safest possible work environment while recognizing their work and value as essential employees.
Since Governor Scott’s State of Emergency declaration, our Leadership Team has been in communication with the Executive Board of our Union team regarding a number of issues, including additional compensation for essential workers. This process of negotiation offers an opportunity for Management and Union teams to collaboratively work toward an agreement that best represents all employees and is in line with Co-op values.
During our discussions, the Union has suggested “hazard pay” at time and one half of their regular rate of pay. We have appropriately considered this request, but we do not believe it is fiscally responsible at this time. Alternatively, the Management Team has put forth a proposed bonus structure for employees during this crisis. Our proposal represents an effective increase of over $2 per hour for all employees as part of a weekly bonus structure.
While this is different than the proposed hazard pay that the Union team has put forth, we feel that this investment in our staff represents a more reasonable structure that both acknowledges the incredible work being done and also our desire to continue to provide sustainable jobs for the foreseeable future.
It is clear that at this moment, there are many unknowns but one thing we are committed to is to continue to provide over 300 jobs in the Burlington community with a comprehensive benefits package that is far above industry standard. As part of the overall compensation package at City Market, we offer
- 4 weeks of Paid Time Off (PTO) to start for employees (this is in addition to leave now being mandated by the Federal government)
- 85-90% coverage of healthcare premiums
- An 18% storewide discount
- And a 6% 401k match
We wanted to take a moment to outline these benefits, not to take away from the important conversation around wages during this unprecedented time, but to acknowledge the importance of paid time off and healthcare as part of this conversation as well. We’ve always invested in our employees and placed value on providing benefits for part and full time workers and we will continue to do so throughout this difficult time.
We will be meeting with the Union Executive Board tomorrow, Monday March 30th to continue this important conversation and will continue to keep our community informed as we make decisions, but we felt it was important to provide an update at this time.
Again, we value the feedback of our community and while it may be difficult to be on the receiving end of criticism, we acknowledge the importance of open dialogue as your community-owned grocery store. Through this time, as always, we will continue to strive to provide a welcoming space for our community that puts our employees’ well-being and safety first.