Later this month, New England grocer Big Y Foods plans to enact a pay raise for all hourly employees.
Under the multimillion-dollar investment, starting pay rates for all clerks, customer service, fresh food and center store specialists, and assistant department managers will be increased effective June 26, the Springfield, Mass.-based supermarket chain said Thursday. Nearly 7,600 of the company’s retail employees will receive the wage hike. The amount of the increase wasn’t disclosed. Overall, the company has almost 11,000 employees.
“We are proud to be investing in our hard-working store teams who have been on the front lines these past two years to support our customers and our community,” Charles D’Amour, Big Y president and CEO, said in a statement. “We know that household budgets are being squeezed by inflation. We hope that by boosting their hourly rates, we will help them to weather these tough times as we recognize and appreciate their efforts and their loyalty.”
“We hope that by boosting their hourly rates, we will help them to weather these tough times as we recognize and appreciate their efforts and their loyalty.” — Charles D’Amour, president & CEO, Big Y Foods (Photo courtesy of Big Y)
Store operations associates receiving the pay raise work in the Big Y supermarkets, convenience/fuel locations and Table & Vine wine and liquor store. Once the increase is implemented, all retail employees will be paid above minimum wage in both Massachusetts and Connecticut, Big Y noted. An average Big Y supermarket is supported by employees working full-time and part-time hours, including specialized positions such as cake decorators, floral specialists and various levels of management, the company said, adding that upper management weren’t included in the pay hike.
“This pay increase only impacts hourly employees. There were multiple factors involved, such as the position the employee holds, whether they are full-time or part-time, and years of service to name a few. The majority of our store employees will see an increase as of June 26,” Michael Galat, vice president of employee services, told Supermarket News in an email on Thursday.
According to Big Y, recent employee feedback indicates that store teams have a “high level of appreciation” for teamwork in the workplace and their input in company initiatives. Currently, 3,282 employees have more than 10 years of service, and 7,409 have over five years of service. The grocer said more than 3,000 associates recently participated in one-on-one career pathing meetings, and all benefits packages are continuously reviewed and updated. Workers also can take part in three Employee Resource Groups, focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion as well as leadership development for women and a multi-generational workforce. Additional college internship programs, too, are being piloted with local colleges.
Over the past year, Big Y held three on-the-spot hiring events. Another hiring drive, for a new store opening in Norwood, Mass., got under way June 7 and runs to July 2. The company said 100 jobs are available, including full-time bakery, meat, seafood, in-store kitchen and deli department managers, assistant department managers, overnight stock clerks. Part-time positions are available in all departments.
“Our company appreciates the hard work and efforts of our employees at all times, in particular the past few years during the pandemic. Our employees were on the front line providing our customers and communities an essential service during this time,” Galat said. “We also recognize, with inflation at a 40-year high, this [wage] increase can assist our employees and their families by reducing their financial burden.”
Overall, Big Y operates 85 stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut, including 71 Big Y World Class Market supermarkets, one Table & Vine Fine Wines & Liquors store and 13 Big Y Express convenience/fuel stores. A new small-store format announced in April, Big Y Express Fresh Market, will be the company’s fourth retail banner.