Some Vermont lawmakers gathered outside of CVS on Church Street Thursday, just one of the businesses they say, are neglecting to take part in the state’s grant program. It provides checks to employees who were in direct contact with the public between March and May.
“The sort of Christmas rush mentality as people were stocking up and getting things to ride out the worst of the pandemic led to some pretty horrible behavior toward the workers who worked at many of these sites,” said Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe.
Walmart, Home Depot, Costco, Target, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Aldi have also not applied. State leaders estimate 5,000 people from those stores would qualify for the money.
The program provides $1200 to part time employees and $2,000 to full time staff who make less than $25 an hour.
“That grant is a big deal,” said Sen. Chris Pearson. “That is paying off your car, back rent, utilities, etc. That is really important and a small token of our ability to thank tens of thousands of employees”
So far, $58 million has been provided to front line workers in Vermont. We reported last week Shaws is also not taking part, but they have since reversed their decision.
“We expect that will actually benefit about 2,000 or so Vermont employees,” Ashe said. “However there remain a number of large multi state companies who for reasons best explained by them have not stepped up to apply on behalf of their employees”
In an effort for those companies to change their mind, Commissioner Michael Pieciak has extended the deadline from Friday to next Wednesday. Leaders say the administrative process takes no more than a few hours.