In response to 3/26 reply from Mike Zupan
Mar 27, 2020 —
We appreciate the timely and thorough response issued by Mike Zupan earlier today, 3/26. (as shown below) Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, and the employees of Zupan’s are asking the company to step up to protect and compensate their employees in a way they have never been asked to before.
It is now being realized that grocery store employees are essential employees, meaning that they are on the front lines of this virus. By performing the essential duties of their jobs, they are putting themselves at risk of contact with this virus. While it is claimed that hazard pay is not a viable option, much less profitable businesses in much more affected industries have made this a priority. Every business across every industry has been affected in some way by this global pandemic and grocery stores are among the least affected. Gift cards and in-store discounts at an up-market grocery store do not translate to viable currency in the real world.
While we appreciate the explicit measures listed to prioritize sanitation and cleanliness (i.e. Partnering with Enviro-Masters, reconfiguring schedules, and adjusting the customer experience), we believe that much more stringent measures need to be implemented.
Knowing that the previously requested regulations are already being implemented (in addition to many others) by many equivalent businesses in this industry, again: we ask that for assurance that the following be implemented to ensure the health and well-being of both Zupan’s associates and customers.
No more than 35 customers to be allowed in the building, with both entrances monitored during business hours to ensure accuracy.
The SAH Initiative issued “six-foot” rule to be strictly enforced for employees, managers and customers at all times. Adjustments should be made to the layout of the store to accommodate, as the current layout does not allow for this kind of separation.
Again, we appreciate the timely and respectful response but continue to ask for Zupan’s to step up and provide for their employees in these extraordinary circumstances.
Email from Mike Zupan:
The profound impact COVID-19 is having on our world, our community, and on each of you is at the forefront of my mind. At this time, we do not know what the new normal is or what the immediate future may hold. I do know we will remain committed to our high standards of service, value, and quality food, while providing a safe and supportive environment to work and shop in.
The amount of pride I have for our team, and how we have come together to respond to this crisis and support our community, is immense. During the last two weeks I have tried to connect with many of you while out in the stores to express my sincere gratitude for the work you are doing. For those of you I have not been able to speak with, please know your hard work and efforts are deeply appreciated.
With Governor Brown’s stay-at-home order issued on Monday, our stores, now more than ever are on the front lines playing a vital role in providing goods and services to our neighbors. With so much disruption in our world, the calm and sense of security we provide with stocked shelves and smiling faces is unparalleled. Comments from customers expressing their thanks continue to come in through our website and social media. We have posted them on Team Zupans and encourage you to login and read the messages.
Our priority is, and always will be, the health and safety of you our associates and our customers. We are working hard to ensure that you have the tools needed to do your job safely and effectively. Thank you for meticulously cleaning your work spaces, washing your hands regularly, and trying to maintain proper distance between fellow associates and customers. We continue to look to the Oregon Health Authority, The Food Industry Association, and the CDC for ongoing recommendations. The most recent actions we have taken with regards to health and safety in our stores include:
Partnering with Enviro-Masters to conduct bi-weekly deep cleanings of highly touched areas (check stands, restrooms, and shopping carts).
Reconfiguring department schedules to allow for proper social distancing between associates.
Asking customers shopping with reusable bags to bag their own groceries.
Providing signage guidance for social distancing throughout the store.
Asking our customers to limit small item shopping trips.
Over the last week some of you have reached out with questions regarding hazard pay. It is my sincere hope that everyone on our team feels respected and valued. However, the honest truth is we are a small, independent three-store grocery chain, and while our business has seen a sudden influx over the past weeks, we are experiencing decreased customer counts and significant declines (between 15-50%) in multiple departments - Food Service, Catering, Coffee, Bakery, Juice Bar, and Floral. And while this can be sustained for a short period of time, the future remains unknown.
With so many businesses closed and unemployment rising, my priority has been to maintain as many positions and jobs as possible. So while hazard pay is not a viable option for our business, we do want to provide some increased benefits. We hope these benefits will help as you and your family spend more time cooking together at home. All associates will be receiving the following tomorrow:
All full-time associates will receive a $200 Zupan’s Markets gift card.
All part-time associates will receive a $100 Zupan’s Markets gift card.
All associates will receive an extra 10% off (30% associate discount) thru April 30th.
I recognize we are in unprecedented times, and waves of stress and fear come and go. I want to encourage you to continue to take care of yourself. Wash your hands, eat well, get plenty of sleep, and exercise. Please remember, if you are sick we want you to stay home and fully recover.
As I wrote in my last note, we don’t want anyone to feel pressure to work. If you are concerned about being in the stores, we want to try and accommodate your needs. Government legislation continues to be passed giving aid, benefits, and financial assistance to individuals, families, and workers. Please contact your store director to answer questions, as well as our Human Resources Director, Marit Cadwell, regarding the latest government benefits and aid.
Thank you again for your dedication to our stores and our customers. I value your efforts throughout this difficult time and I am proud to have you on Team Zupans. The COVID-19 outbreak has challenged our team and our communities like never before. Each of you has stepped up, going above and beyond to serve our customers at a time when they need us most. Our team is strong, and by working together and supporting each other we will endure beyond this crisis.
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