- Ingles Markets will distribute a total of $5 million in bonuses to its employees at the end of July, according to a press release from the North Carolina-based supermarket chain.
- Full-time Ingles workers will receive $300 bonuses, while part-time employees will get $150. The payments will go to workers in the company’s stores and distribution facilities as well as to corporate associates who were hired on or before April 24.
- The bonuses represent the second time the 197-store chain has provided extra pay to its workers since the start of the pandemic. Ingles provided the same levels of payments to its workers in April, when it also changed its sick pay policy and beefed up its medical plan.
Ingles is giving its workers extra money at a time when the grocery industry is facing criticism for walking away from programs to provide enhanced compensation they rolled out at the start of the pandemic.
Grocers like Kroger and Albertsons have drawn sharp rebukes from labor leaders for ending programs after multiple extensions that paid workers an extra $2 per hour. The grocers attempted to soften the impact by capping them with bonuses.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), which has decried the decisions by many grocers to end their extra-pay programs, issued a statement June 19 demanding that Kroger and other large grocers rethink their decisions to end what is often called “hazard pay” because the number of COVID-19 cases is surging.
“As long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow, every grocery worker in America must receive the hazard pay they have earned for the vital work they are doing to serve our communities as the danger continues,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in the union's statement. He added that the strong financial results the grocery industry has posted are a reflection of the contributions made by grocery workers who are “literally putting their lives on the line to help feed this nation.”
On Monday, Texas grocer H-E-B announced that while it had ended a temporary program that gave extra pay to its employees, it was launching a long-term effort to provide “accelerated and enhanced pay increases.” H-E-B said the new program represents the biggest investment in worker compensation it has ever made.