Whole Foods, Amazon enact temporary wage hike in coronavirus response

Hourly associates in U.S., Canada get extra $2; UK workers receive £2 more


Russell Redman, Supermarket News 

Mar 17, 2020


In line with parent company Amazon, Whole Foods Market is giving hourly employees another $2 per hour through next month for their extra efforts in serving customers during the coronavirus crisis.


Whole Foods said yesterday that all part- and full-time hourly associates at stores and facilities in the United States and Canada will now receive an additional $2 an hour on top of their current rate until the end of April. In the United Kingdom, part- and full-time hourly staff at Whole Foods will get an extra £2 per hour over the same time period.


Amazon announced the measure on Tuesday for the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and European Union countries. Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods currently operates 487 stores in the U.S., 14 in Canada and seven in the U.K.


“As a grocer, we believe serving customers and the community during this time is essential. Today, Amazon announced that they are providing hourly employees with an additional $2 per hour through the end of April,” Whole Foods said in a statement. “We are joining Amazon in this measure.”


Also on Tuesday, Whole Foods said it’s making some temporary changes in its prepared foods and self-service areas and restaurants to help thwart the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).


Hot bars, salad bars, soup bars and self-serve pizza areas will be closed, as will self-serve offerings in additional departments, including antipasti and olive bars, acai machines and poke bowls.


In addition, seated restaurant venues and taprooms will close for in-store dining and offer takeout only. Indoor and outdoor café seating also will be temporarily unavailable.


“This process will be complete across stores in the U.S., Canada and U.K. by Wednesday, March 18. All stores will continue to offer an expanded selection of prepackaged items and full-service chef case offerings,” Whole Foods stated.


Amazon unveiled the wage bonus yesterday in announcing 100,000 new full and part-time U.S. jobs across its fulfillment centers and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on its online service to avoid going to stores and potential exposing themselves to coronavirus infection, “particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public,” the Seattle-based e-tail giant said...