Growing Pains: Richmond's Blue Apron Addresses Problems Tied to Hiring Spree - NBC Bay Area
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Growing Pains: Richmond's Blue Apron Addresses Problems Tied to Hiring Spree

The East Bay-based company says temp agencies it used did not screen workers properly

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A successful meal delivery service in the East Bay may have grown too fast and is now working to improve its record of workplace safety and violence. Terry McSweeney reports. (Published Monday, Oct. 3, 2016)

    A successful meal delivery service in the East Bay may have grown too fast and is now working to improve its record of workplace safety and violence.

    Blue Apron, which now employs 1,000 people in Richmond, admits its haste to hire and that some job agencies may have been no help at all.

    The service ships 8 million ready to prepare meals to people across the United States every month.

    The company's Richmond facility opened in 2013 with a couple dozen workers. A year later, the rapid hiring of workers forced the Blue Apron to use temp agencies for staffing.

    Blue Apron said some agencies did not screen workers properly. Richmond police on Monday confirmed responding to the plant numerous times last year, including three times for a bomb threat and seven times for a variety of assaults.

    "As a result, we quickly ended our relationship with these staffing agencies and took proactive steps to intentionally slow our growth, including cutting our marketing budget and closing shipping days, until appropriate staffing was available," Blue Apron said in a statement.

    There have also been several safety problems at Blue Apron, which has prompted a $20,000 fine from Cal/OSHA for improper storage of chemicals and employee training violations.

    "Blue Apron has never had a final OSHA determination classified as 'serious,' 'willful' or 'repeat,'" Blue Apron said in a statement.

    A Blue Apron employee, who did not want to be identified, on Monday said they are happy to work at the company and that employees come to work with great attitudes.

    Meanwhile, police said Blue Apron is moving in the right direction and the number of calls has gone down quite a bit from last year.

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