Jacksonville Winn-Dixie laying off lead positions, employee says

Jacksonville Winn-Dixie laying off lead positions, employee says

A Jacksonvile Winn-Dixie is slated to close in June, a move that will elminate 62 positions. 

A Winn-Dixie employee said he was called in to work early and told that he will be laid off from his job at a store in Jacksonville.

Action News Jax spoke exclusively with Errol Johnson, who said he will be laid off from his job as a grocery lead, or supervisor, at the store in Neptune Beach May 31.

Johnson said he was told to come in early on Wednesday via text message. When he got there, his manager read him a statement that said his job was being eliminated.

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Johnson was making $14 an hour and was told he may be considered for a different position.

"If you do not get selected by those three positions, you are eligible as a new-hire and possibly be hired back at part time at $9.50 an hour," Johnson said. He declined.

Johnson called the layoffs a hardship for himself and families of other workers who are being let go.

“It was quite shocking. (I) didn't know how to be able to absorb that,” Johnson said. “I work with someone who just bought a house, and he had to go home and tell his wife yesterday of the news.”

Johnson said the stores are already shorthanded.

“Customers are bagging their own groceries, the lines are long,” Johnson said. “They have cut labor so much."

News of the layoffs at the Neptune Beach store came less than a week after Action News Jax learned the store at 7534 Beach Blvd. is closing, which will put 62 people out of work.

“This decision was not made lightly,” said Shawn Sloan, regional vice president of Southeast Grocers. “We appreciate the many contributions our associates have made, and they were the first to know of this decision and opportunities for all associates are being actively pursued at nearby stores.

“The closure is scheduled to take place in June. Until the store closes, we will work hard to continue delivering the great service and value our customers have come to expect.”

Johnson said he thinks more stores will close and leads across the company will be eliminated, which is more than 3,500 jobs.

“I’m at a loss. I have a family,” Johnson said. “I asked them point-blank, how many stores are you closing? Is this the only one? And their answers were very vague. Why do you think that is?

He said he's worried about how he'll make ends meet.

"I'm scrambling now to find employment," Johnson said.