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Co-op recognizes warehouse teams with appreciation pay

By Daniel Jungwirth

March 26, 2020

While grocery store employees are emerging as unsung heroes on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) wants to also recognize the unseen efforts of our warehouse distribution centre teams.

FCL is implementing an Appreciation Pay Program that increases hourly wages by $2 per hour for employees in roles delivering essential goods. This includes employees at warehouse distribution centres in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary. Each day they supply food, pharmacy, home and building supplies and general merchandise to more than 600 Western Canadian communities where co-ops serve.

“Our distribution centres and our team members are critical to supplying co-ops and all the Western Canadian communities they serve,” said Tom Kishchuk, FCL’s Vice-President of Operational Support. “We’re incredibly proud of their efforts—they’ve come through for our local co-ops and communities in their hour of need.”

The events of recent weeks have drastically increased demand on these distribution centres, sometimes more than 2.5 times the normal volume for this time of year. Amidst these demands, they’ve adjusted protocols and prioritized ordering to ensure supplies get to where they’re most needed.

FCL’s Appreciation Pay Program is retroactive to March 8. A similar program is being developed to recognize employees performing critical duties at other FCL sites as Co-op supports the response to COVID-19.

Many local co-ops are also offering appreciation pay for their own frontline workers, such as grocery store employees, pharmacists and others who are providing essential supplies to customers.

Every year, FCL’s distribution centres deliver more than 500,000 tons of products from suppliers and manufacturers to members and customers. The Co-operative Retailing System – the network of FCL and more than 160 local co-ops – serves more than 1.9 million Co-op members in more than 600 communities through its locations, which include more than 300 food stores and 380 gas bar/convenience store locations.