A Letter from the Co-op General Manager
To Our Community,
As you know, Monday is Labor Day, a national holiday that recognizes and honors the contributions and spirit of the American worker. In my view, in no time in recent memory have those contributions ever been more profound. This is particularly true for our industry.
When the pandemic first hit, many were able to hunker down in their homes, but grocery workers were not among them.
From the beginning, grocery store employees were considered essential workers during this time of crisis, and so they went about their work as usual—keeping our communities supplied and fed under the most challenging of circumstances.
In honor of Labor Day, let me share with you some of the things we are doing to thank our employees for a job very well done.
Social Security Taxes
The Executive Order signed on August 8, 2020 by President Trump, and later clarified on August 28, 2020, by the Treasury Secretary, directed that employers have the option to suspend employee social security tax collection from September 1 to December 31, 2020. In essence, the tax is being delayed and, as it stands today, employees will have to repay the missed taxes in the first part of 2021, thus doubling up on payments. There is a possibility that the suspended taxes will be forgiven, but as there is no clear guidance at this time, we have decided that it would be in the best interest of our employees not to suspend collection of these taxes.
Bottom line: our goal is to thank and recognize our employees long-term, not to make a short-term decision now that could financially burden our employees or their families next year.
Employee Appreciation Program
A new Employee Appreciation Program is in the works, scheduled to launch in 2021. The program was developed with the help and input from employees throughout the Co-op. The ideas are innovative and forward-thinking, and have been shared with location managers for their thoughts and input. As always, we will keep all our members and shoppers updated as the program evolves and will share all the details as they are finalized.
Employee Committee Updates
The Lighthouse, our committee on diversity and inclusion, is working on plans to create safe spaces in our various locations where we can share information on unconscious bias and how we can overcome it within ourselves. Meanwhile, the Employee Experience Committee is also continuing its work, finding ways to improve our workplace for all employees.
In closing, I am happy to share some very good news today. This Labor Day, I would like to take the opportunity to spotlight and recognize all of our employees for their contributions.
As a result, today my team endorsed the payment of a discretionary, short-term bonus to all employees.
The bonus covers the period of June 6—the last date a discretionary bonus was paid out—through the end of August. Employees will receive the bonus in their paychecks in early October.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Please reach out to me anytime. In the meantime, enjoy the long holiday weekend, and my thanks to all of our members and shoppers for supporting our Co-op and its dedicated employees. Remember to be kind to one another and to yourselves, and we look forward to serving you in our stores and at the curbside.
Onward and upward,