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Some Quad-City grocers, food processing workers see pay, benefit increases

Some Quad-City grocers, food processing workers see pay, benefit increases

Pay raises and more benefits are coming for Hy-Vee, Fareway grocery store workers and Kraft Heinz employees in the Quad-Cities amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fareway Stores, Inc., announced Wednesday a one-time cash bonus to hourly employees who are under the age of 18. Part-time hourly workers, 18 and up, will receive an additional 20 hours of paid time-off; full-time workers will receive an additional 40 hours of paid time-off.

Assistant managers and warehouse foremen will each receive an additional 47 hours paid time-off.

The additional paid leave can be used for time-off, or as a cash payment, by workers. The bonuses vary with a max of $1,200 per employee. The payments will be distributed Friday, April 3, to Fareway's approximately 8,500 frontline workers.

Hy-Vee said Wednesday it was giving a 10% bonus on all hours worked by part-time and full-time frontline store employees from March 16 to April 12. Those will be paid out on April 17. New benefits are also being offered to Hy-Vee workers.

Job protection of two weeks for a worker who either tests positive for the new coronavirus, or is required to self-quarantine by health officials. Full-time Hy-Vee employees enrolled in short-term disability can receive a minimum of two weeks paid time off.

Hy-Vee will also waive co-pays for all full-time employees and their dependents who utilize telehealth services, including mental health services, and is allowing part-time workers to use it for a minimal fee per visit.

Hy-Vee, with locations across the Quad-Cities, is among the companies that is currently hiring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, representing meatpacking and food processing employees, announced its union had secured pay increases and benefits for 3,300 Iowa workers, including Kraft Heinz employees in Muscatine and Davenport.

Kraft Heinz workers who are required to quarantine will now receive short-term disability benefits with waived waiting periods, waived co-pays for coronavirus medical care and $100 weekly childcare subsidy for workers in districts where schools have closed.

That comes a day after new raises and benefits were announced for more than 6,400 Iowa workers earlier this week.

“These wage and benefit increases will not only protect the health and welfare of these hard-working men and women, they will help ensure all of America’s families have the food they need to overcome the public health crisis our nation faces,” said Marc Perrone, UFCW International president.

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