WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- Grocery workers at Acme and Safeway stores in Delaware will be receiving a pay increase as the state contends with the coronavirus outbreak.
Approximately 250,000 employees in all will receive a $2 an hour increase in pay, Albertsonson Companies and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) announced Thursday.
As non-essential businesses are ordered to be closed and unemployment rates skyrocket, grocery stores remain open and are working to keep their shelves stocked.
"In ways that we could not even imagine, overnight, our country changed - and as a result it changed the way our teams conduct business," said Albertsons Co. President & CEO Vivek Sankaran.
Sankaran said the workers did not "skip a step."
"In our manufacturing plants, distribution centers and in our stores, our associates are working tirelessly to serve our customers. They work every day to keep our communities fed, their pantries and medicine cabinets stocked, and to ensure one less worry on our customers' minds as we all face this unprecedented pandemic," Sankaran said.
UFCW represents 1.3 million workers in the grocery, retail and other industries. In the past week, the union said it had helped secure increased pay and benefits for more than 320,000 grocery workers. The union said it is proud to support the wage increase for Delaware's Safeway and Acme workers who are "on the front lines of the outbreak."
"Safeway and the UFCW both recognize that grocery store workers are on the frontlines of this crisis. What Safeway did shows real leadership. We hope that this sends a message to every supermarket, grocery store, and food retail employer - union and non-union - across this country that it is time for every company to recognize the sacrifice America's food workers are making," said UFCW International President Marc Perrone.