HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — As the pandemic slowly winds down, Sheetz is working to stay competitive with a sharp wage hike: The company’s 18,000 employees will receive a $2/hour pay increase on May 21. In addition to this permanent wage increase, Sheetz employees will also be getting a “summer stimulus bonus” of an extra dollar per hour through Sept. 23.
In Maryland, nearly two-thirds of adults have rolled up their sleeves for a vaccine, and restrictions are slowly being lifted across the state. But even as things become safer for everyone, many businesses are having a hard time hiring new employees.
“Things are opening up, so there’s more people out. Business is actually really good, which is great. But there’s just a really tight labor market right now. It’s really difficult to find people to staff the stores. And so the stores are understaffed to an extent,” said Travis Sheetz, president and COO of Sheetz. “We wanna be at the top of the wage market. Not just wages but total benefits.”
Wages have been a hot-button issue in the United States for a long time — during president Biden’s 100 days speech at the end of April, viewers applauded him for insisting the country increase its minimum wage.
“Let’s raise the minimum wage to $15,” Biden said, leaning into his microphone as legislatures clapped. “No one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line.”
While there hasn’t been much progress in changing the minimum wage through congress, it’s possible a cultural shift may push the country forward. Many reports of business owners insisting that “no one wants to work anymore” have popped up across the nation.
Travis Sheetz said it’s not that no one wants to work — it’s that businesses should make investments in their employees to motivate them.
“There are lots of things people are dealing with, so even if you want to work, if you’re not able to make in the wage market what you would need to make in order to stay home, and also you’d have to pay for supplemental stuff like childcare — there’s just lots of things compounded by COVID that are creating this environment,” the Sheetz president said.
Sheetz has over 2,000 open positions across its stores, and more will be coming to the Hagerstown area once the new store on Sharpsburg Pike is finished.