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Omaha construction company responds to inflation, hands out extra check to workers at the job site

By: - May 25, 2022 12:07 pm

(Getty Images)

An Omaha-based construction company is responding to recent cost inflation by putting something extra in employee wallets, in time for the holiday weekend.

Hawkins Construction, a regional contractor that employs about 400 people, has created an “inflation protection fund” and plans to disburse up to $2,000 to each hourly worker this year. CEO and president Chris Hawkins is visiting job sites Wednesday to pass out the first round of $1,000 checks.

“We see rising costs across the supply chain and recognize this volatility is affecting our employees’ bottom lines as well,” said Hawkins. “Through this fund, we aim to cover the unavoidable gaps created by increased prices at the gas pump, grocery store and other bills.”

The calculation was made based on the company’s estimate that the average cost of basic household expenses was increasing by about $2,000 due to year-over-year inflation. The fund and related checks are in addition to regular wages and performance bonuses.

Hawkins said he recognizes that rising costs are an “acute pain point” for employees and his team recognized it as “something we have to address right now.”

As the Memorial Day weekend approaches, he said, he hopes the financial boost could also help add a bit more variety to the family picnic menu.

“When our people are happy, it makes me happy,” he said.

This latest move follows a recent announcement of a pilot program that provides Hawkins employees free English-as-second-language classes. The company said it also recently gave hourly wage increases ranging from 5% to 12%. 

Hawkins is a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated construction contractor that builds transportation civil infrastructure, water and wastewater and industrial projects.

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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics. She has won awards from organizations including Great Plains Journalism, the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) and the Associated Press. Cindy has been recognized by various nonprofits for community contributions and diversity efforts. She chairs the board that oversees the local university’s student newspaper.

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