Mass. Employers Trying to Help Workers Manage Inflation

Inflation is at a 40-year high, with price increases evident on many necessities such as gas, food and services

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With inflation putting a strain on just about everyone's wallet, some local businesses are looking at ways to make things a little easier on employees.

Inflation is at a 40-year high, with price increases evident on many necessities such as gas, food and services.

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Massachusetts-based Big Y is stepping up big, giving raises to all its hourly employees to help offset inflation.

"People are overjoyed," Steve Gorman, the assistant store director in Walpole, explained.

The raises kick in for about 7,600 workers on June 26. Pharmacy tech Samantha Mortali says it will not only help with her budget.

“It’s more in the larger scale of things. Every little bit helps right now. Picking up a couple of extra shifts… we don’t have to think about it. Oh, how many shifts I have to work this week to make things meet?"

Gorman said it’s also about the workers and everything they've gone through.

"We think about the beginning of COVID, the pandemic, these are people who have been here through thick and thin really trying to do their best to serve our communities and our customers."

Big Y is investing several million dollars in the raises.

Cummings Properties in Woburn is taking a different approach -- something founder Bill Cummings came up with at the gas station.

“Filled my tank in a relatively small car and put $74 worth in and just thought about that and the impact. I can well afford the $74. A lot of people can’t. What do we do?"

The answer is a fuel stipend to the company's more than 650 employees. 

Isaiah Marquez is a design associate who did the math.

"Doing a dollar for every hour you work. About $40 dollars a week? $80 dollars every two weeks for your gas? That’s pretty nice," he said.

Several employees said they read the email twice to make sure they got it right, and it’s changed how they feel when they pull up to the pump.

George Holland is a grounds worker with 46 years with the company.

"I think if it every time. I’ll pull into the gas station and say this on the house."

Kieth Yianacopolus has 35 years with Cummings.

“I drive a six-cylinder Toyota. $49 dollars every 10 days. There you go. Every 10 days it’s free."

Cummings expects to keep this going at least until the end of the year, at a cost of more than $600,000.

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