Meijer wins double honor from EPA
Meijer is being recognized for its ability to move more goods using less fuel.
The company is the first retailer to receive the U.S. EPA’s 2018 Smart Way Excellence Award in two categories simultaneously – as a shipper and a carrier. Meijer has been recognized as a SmartWay award recipient in the past – as a shipping partner in 2017 and as a carrier partner in 2007.
The SmartWay award recognizes the top retail and manufacturing carriers and shippers that demonstrate how their logistical operations make a measurable difference in reducing carbon emissions, while also effectively managing fuel costs as they move goods around the country.
“Our team members are driven to constantly monitor and improve the efficiency of our fleet with the mission to minimize our carbon footprint in the communities where we do business,” said Tom McCall, VP of logistics for Meijer, which operates more than 240 supercenters and grocery store throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
Meijer operates a fleet of 250 semi-trucks that cover more than 25 million miles each year. The company has also built a best-in-class clean diesel fleet and invested in energy efficiency within its retail operations, including its commitment to retrofit each of its more than 240 retail locations with LED lighting by 2021. Meijer reported the change will reduce its lighting electrical use by as much as 50% annually.
Meijer is constantly monitoring the emissions from its refrigerated trailers. All refrigerated units are programmed with “cycle sentry.” Cycle-Sentry automatically regulates the engine as refrigeration is needed. This technology enables Meijer to realize a fuel savings of nearly 80%, increase the life of its engines, and reduce maintenance costs.
Meijer also uses three, Tier 4 CARB hybrid/electric shore powered refrigerated units at its distribution facilities, and its stock dock doors run on electricity only. This reduces operating and maintenance expenses, eliminates local diesel emissions, and meets local noise ordinances. These hybrid units are now the standard specification for new unit purchases.
Retail industry jobs rise in September
Jobs in the retail industry are up over last year, yet many retail positions still remain unfilled.
Retail industry employment in September increased by 25,600 jobs unadjusted over the same time last year despite a seasonally adjusted drop of 23,600 jobs from August, according to the National Retail Federation. (The NRF numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.) Overall, U.S. businesses added 134,000 jobs over August, the Labor Department said.
September’s numbers followed a revised monthly gain of 8,900 jobs in August over July, which had originally been reported as a 9,700-job loss. The three-month moving average in September showed a loss of 5,000 jobs.
“I think we can safely ignore the decline from August because that was largely the result of the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, which affected both the retail sector and leisure/hospitality” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “More importantly, we know we have a large number of unfilled retail jobs with a record level of openings in the industry.”
Specifically, retailers had 835,000 unfilled job openings as of July, Kleinhenz said.
Economy-wide, average hourly earnings in September were up 8 cents over August, and 73 cents from a year ago, a year-over-year increase of 2.8%. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, its lowest level since December 1969.
Amazon’s wage hikes comes with downside
It seems Amazon’s employee wage increase comes at a price for warehouse employees.
Despite announcing it will increase its minimum wage to $15 for all employees across the United States, Amazon plans to eliminate monthly bonuses and stock awards for warehouse workers and other hourly employees, according to Bloomberg.
Historically, Amazon’s warehouse workers were eligible for monthly bonuses that could total hundreds of dollars per month, as well as stock awards. Those employees were notified Wednesday that both of those compensation categories will be eliminated to help pay for the raises, according to the report, which cited sources familiar with the online giant’s pay policies.
Even without these compensation categories, warehouse employees will still receive a total salary increase. For example, employees already making more than $15 per hour will get hourly raises of $1, Bloomberg reported.
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