While Americans brace for the economic impact of COVID-19 related closures and resulting lost income, major outlet chains in the essential grocery and pharmacy categories offered some good news this week. Walmart, Albertsons, CVS, Walgreen’s and Family Dollar/Dollar Tree announced they would be hiring a combined nearly 265,000 workers nationwide to compensate for the demands placed upon them during the crisis (Kroger’s/Smith’s made no specific hiring announcement). In addition, employees who are already serving these companies during the pandemic are expected to receive one-time bonuses of between $150 and $500 each from their employers.
“Grocery workers are on the frontlines, ensuring Americans have access to the food and products they need during this unprecedented pandemic,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO in a prepared statement on Saturday. “Our associates are working around the clock to keep our stores open for our customers …The true heroes in this story are our associates.”
On March 19, Walmart announced that it is “hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers. These roles will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time.” They’ve also reached out to businesses in the hospitality industry to provide a temporary employment ‘bridge’ for laid-off workers.
It’s unclear how many of those jobs will be available in Pahrump, possibly only a handful per store as much of the need for labor occurs in the distribution chain as well as in retail outlets. Few actual positions in Pahrump are listed on the individual company website hiring portals, but individuals looking for work are encouraged to file applications online, even if a specific job does not yet appear to be available, according to one unofficial source.
Albertsons announced on Monday that it will be hiring 30,000 new workers nationwide, also working in partnership with other nonessential businesses to hire employees who are temporarily laid off from their jobs, and giving bonuses to current employees. Although only a couple of positions on the company’s online hiring portal appear to be located in Pahrump as of Tuesday, “there are additional job openings at Albertsons in Pahrump in addition to what is posted on the website,” said Albertsons Southwest regional spokesperson Nancy Keane. “We have only begun the mass hiring effort.”
Keane said she couldn’t speak as to whether temporary hires at their store might convert to permanent employment or how many jobs would be available in a particular location such as Pahrump. These issues would be decided on a “store-by-store basis,” she said.
All of the corporate chain stores in Pahrump are accepting applications online. Most are hiring only through their online portals to comply with social distancing, and many are waiving the usual time delays in the hiring process.
“Walmart is also implementing a new process to dramatically expedite hiring for key roles, such as cashiers and stockers,” according to the March 19 corporate statement. “What is usually a two-week application cycle will be reduced to a 24-hour process …This initiative is aimed at helping put Americans to work.”
CVS said in a prepared statement on Monday that it would be hiring 50,000 more workers nationwide, “embarking on the most ambitious hiring drive in the company’s history …Roles include store associates, home delivery drivers, distribution center employees and member/customer service professionals.”
To recruit within social distancing guidelines, “The company will utilize a technology-enabled hiring process that includes virtual job fairs, virtual interviews and virtual job tryouts.” CVS is also partnering with other corporations to hire on workers laid off from other nonessential businesses, and is giving employee bonuses of between $150 and $500, according to the statement.
Kroger, the parent company of Smith’s Grocery store, did not make a hiring announcement. However, according to a corporate tweet on Sunday, just one distribution center in the southern U.S. had “increased shipments by 50%, deploying 30,000-plus cases of food every hour to 150-plus stores.” Smith’s is also giving bonuses to their employees.
Dollar Tree/Family Dollar Stores announced on Friday it would be hiring 25,000 new workers nationwide. “The open positions include full- and part-time managers at the company’s more than 15,000 store locations, along with flexible part-time shifts for cashiers and stockers,” said Gary Philbin, CEO, in a prepared statement. As of Tuesday, five local Pahrump positions were available on the corporation’s hiring portal.
Walgreen’s announced on Sunday that it expects to hire 9,500 or more new workers nationwide, as well as pay bonuses of $150 to $300 to their employees. The company is also “introducing Sanvello, a new, free mobile app for all team members [that]…provides peer support and clinically-validated coping tools to reduce stress and anxiety,” according to their statement.
Many companies are also announcing revisions and expansions in their absentee/emergency leave policies to allow for new concerns facing employees, such as unexpected and prolonged child care due to school closures and illness or symptoms of COVID-19.
Anyone looking for work can visit the online hiring portals for individual stores or their parent corporations. Corporations with stores that may be hiring in Pahrump are listed below:
Dollar Tree: DollarTree.com/careers
Family Dollar Stores: FamilyDollar.com/careers