Several companies have recently made announcements regarding bonuses and hazard pay,
following reports of retailers not sharing enough of their pandemic profit with their employees. Here are a few:
After ending its $2-an-hour pay raise for workers earlier this year, Amazon will now spend about $500 million on holiday bonuses for employees in 2020, reported CNN (Nov. 27). Front-line U.S. employees will receive a $300 bonus, while part-time employees will get $150. In the UK, employees will receive bonuses of $400 and $200, respectively.
However, some organizations believe this is not enough. Amazon expects revenues to exceed $100 billion for the first time in the fourth quarter, leading unions and civil society groups to argue it should compensate much more . Several dozen organizations, including Greenpeace, Oxfam, Progressive International and the Tax Justice Network used Black Friday to call attention to concerns about worker compensation and safety, as well as Amazon’s carbon footprint and tax practices.
“It is great that workers are getting more this holiday season, [but] it is not enough,” said Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union. “To show it values its workforce, Amazon should collectively bargain wages and conditions with workers throughout its operations, rather than make one time unilateral gestures of appreciation.”
The announcement also comes on the heels of a three-day strike in Germany at seven of the company’s fulfillment centers. The union wants Amazon to recognize a collective labor agreement that covers wages, bonuses, and paid time off.
About 50,000 Shoprite workers will receive retroactive hazard pay under an agreement brokered by UFCW, reported NJ.com (Nov. 27).
The deal calls for an additional $1 per hour to be paid in a lump sum to workers in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York who worked between July 26 and Aug. 22 and remain employed as of Dec. 5. It also leaves open the possibility of future hazard payment in the case of another COVID-19 outbreak.
This comes on top of Temporary Emergency Premium pay provided to workers throughout the pandemic, according to Wakefern Food Corporation, ShopRite’s parent company. For workers who have already received bonuses or additional wages, those payments will offset the hazard pay.
“We are thankful for all our associates do each day to keep our family-owned and operated stores running smoothly and safely,” Wakefern said in a statement.
In Canada, Sobeys reinstated hero pay for hourly workers in locked down areas of the country, including the Winnipeg, Toronto, and Peel regions reported CBC (Nov. 27).
The hazard pay will add $10 to $100 per week to employees’ checks and is projected to cost the grocer about $5 million. Like others, the chain had a similar program for its workers at the beginning of the pandemic.
“Launching the Lockdown Bonus, in the face of new government mandated lockdowns, was simply the right thing to do,” said CEO Michael Medline. “I said that if we ever faced the same level of lockdowns in a region or province like we saw in the early spring, we would bring a recognition program back for our teammates.”