Los Angeles mandates $5 per hour “hazard pay” raise for grocery and drugstore workers

Los Angeles has joined a small however rising checklist of West Coast cities requiring bigger grocery and drugstore chains to supply a brief increase to workers who’ve continued to work throughout the coronavirus pandemic

The Los Angeles Metropolis Council this week voted 14-1 to approve a $5 an hour pay increase lasting 120 days, for frontline retail workers. The rise takes impact on Friday. 

“Whereas the businesses have seen large earnings, it has not trickled all the way down to their workers,” council member Nury Martinez tweeted. “These staff are risking their lives. They deserve greater than minimal wage.”

The transfer follows the adoption of comparable “hazard pay” measures in California’s Lengthy Seashore, Oakland, San Jose and unincorporated Los Angeles County, in addition to in Seattle. But whereas native lawmakers argue the employees need to earn extra for working via the pandemic, the mandates have drawn pushback from retailers in addition to authorized challenges. Kroger, the nation’s largest grocery chain, has take extra aggressive measures, closing 4 shops.

“Additional pay mandates could have extreme unintended penalties on not solely grocers, however on their staff and their clients,” Ron Fong, CEO of the California Grocers Affiliation, stated in an announcement to CBS MoneyWatch. “A $5 [per] hour additional pay mandate quantities to a 28%. That is enormous. Grocers will be unable to soak up these prices, and damaging repercussions are unavoidable.”

The commerce group has filed authorized challenges to hazard pay ordinances in not less than three California cities.

Dealer Joe’s responded by quickly upping pay by $4 an hour for its staff nationwide however cancelling its conventional midyear raises.

At the least 134 grocery staff have died of COVID-19, in line with the United Meals and Business Staff union. Many retailers, together with Kroger, started providing additional compensation, generally referred to as “hero pay,” early final yr, however have since ended the observe.

Analysis has discovered that frontline workers have the next danger of coronavirus publicity on the job. Such staff are additionally extra prone to be Black, Hispanic or Native American — populations which have suffered increased charges of COVID-19.

Grocery workers are among the many hundreds of thousands of American adults whose poor pay leaves them to depend on federal help to outlive, in line with a report revealed Thursday by the Authorities Accountability Workplace, the nonpartisan analysis arm of Congress.

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