Hy-Vee confirmed to KCCI on Friday it was laying off another set of employees.
The West Des Moines-based grocer told the Des Moines TV station “57 positions were eliminated across corporate offices, including employees from IT, engineering, equipment, real estate, and construction.”
The 57 employees laid off this time around will be provided with 30 days of pay and benefits, according to KCCI.
As it did during layoffs in March and April, Hy-Vee said these employees were offered retail jobs, a tactic the company has been using to dance around state and federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act laws. Those laws require companies to provide employees ample advance warning of their layoffs and public notifications about staff reductions.
In March, Hy-Vee laid off 121 office workers who were primarily stationed at a Grimes office. In April, Hy-Vee took out ads designed to look like news articles in several major Midwest newspapers to announce that 500 additional corporate workers were being asked to work in its stores.
While Hy-Vee’s statement to KCCI said it “has reduced our corporate office staff by a total of more than 415 positions,” if you account for all three rounds of layoffs, the number of people who have lost their job is closer to 700.
After this story was published, Hy-Vee disputed the near 700 figure Starting Line arrived at based on previous reports and statements.
“That number is ‘up to 500,'” a Hy-Vee spokesperson said in reference to the April job cuts. “It wasn’t a definitive or exact 500. So if you take into account today’s number of 57, plus previous transitions, that’s where the 415 comes from. By saying 700–you are actually double-counting numbers.”
Starting Line asked Hy-Vee to specify exactly how many of the 500 employees from April’s announcement are still with the company.
“We can’t provide that specific breakdown just yet since we still have some who are continuing to take positions at our retail locations,” the Hy-Vee spokesperson said.
Starting Line was able to previously report that Hy-Vee employees who lose their jobs after being asked to transition from corporate to retail are eligible for state unemployment benefits.
Hy-Vee blamed economic difficulties for the job losses. The company brings in about $12.5 billion annually in revenue, an amount that has increased throughout the pandemic.
by Ty Rushing
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