SCHENECTADY — Amid mass layoffs in the hospitality industry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Price Chopper/Market 32 is looking to expand its workforce.
The company plans to hire 2,000 new part-time or temporary part-time employees at most of the chain’s 132 stores in six states, the Schenectady-based chain announced on Thursday.
At present, Price Chopper/Market 32 employs about 20,000.
Price Chopper/Market 32 acknowledged the outbreak has been “devastating” to businesses and their employees.
“It’s our hope that this hiring opportunity provides relief to many for the sake of serving many more within our communities,” said Mike Miller, Price Chopper/Market 32’s vice president of human resources operations, in a released statement.
Layoffs are mounting nationwide.
Unemployment insurance claims for the week ending March 14 totaled 281,000 nationwide, an increase of 70,000 from the week before, according to data released by the Department of Labor on Thursday.
Schenectady is no exception. Some of the city’s largest employers wound down operations this week, including Proctors, which slashed 80 percent of its workforce, and Rivers Casino & Resort, which furloughed 900 employees with two weeks pay.
Price Chopper/Market 32 has also seen internal shifts from employees who are modifying their schedules to deal with unexpected child care issues following closure of public schools, said Mona Golub, Price Chopper/Market 32's vice president of public relations and consumer services.
The bolstered staff come when the stores are seeing a "tremendous increase” in volume, Golub said, as well as the rollout of new cleaning and sanitation protocols.
Beginning last weekend, the chain began closing stores overnight for restocking and cleaning.
Price Chopper/Market 32 will expedite the hiring and training process so that new employees can begin working almost immediately.
To apply, visit pricechopper.com/careers.
There’s no across-the-board policy on how many new employees each location will absorb.
"It really depends on the volume and needs of each individual store,” Golub said.
The company also hopes to begin holding in-store hiring events in the near future.
The move comes after Price Chopper/Market 32 allocated a one-hour slot at 6 a.m. exclusively for senior citizen shoppers and those with compromised immune systems.
"It appears to be much appreciated by those who need that kind of provision,” Golub said.
The other large supermarket chain in the Capital Region, Hannaford, is also reducing its hours of operation and setting aside a period reserved for older shoppers. It said Thursday that effective March 24, it will be open to the general public 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and open from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m only for those age 60 or older and those with compromised immune systems. The overnight hours will be used for restocking and sanitizing the stores.
Domino’s also plans to bolster hiring, announcing on Thursday plans to hire 10,000 part-time and full-time staffers.