LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Frontline workers of national grocery and drug retailers in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County might soon receive an additional five dollars an hour in “hero pay” during the pandemic.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted in favor of drafting an ordinance that would require the raise.
The draft is expected to be considered at the board’s next regular meeting on January 26. If ultimately approved, the ordinance would be expected to stay in force for 120 days.
The motion pointed to a rising number of outbreaks of the virus in grocery stores and the additional stress that workers suffer when they cannot consistently maintain distance from crowds of customers at work. Workers also bear increased child care costs incurred while kids are at home distance learning.
Supervisors Hilda Solis and Holly Mitchell co-authored the motion calling for a temporary “urgency” ordinance that would apply to store chains that are publicly traded or have at least 300 employees nationwide and more than 10 employees per store.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, these workers have continued to show up to their jobs despite the dangers of being exposed to COVID-19. Because of their work on the frontlines, families throughout the county have been able to access food and medicine they need during the pandemic,” Solis said. “While there is a light at the end of the tunnel … the health threats these workers face are as real as they were at the beginning of the pandemic.”
Supervisor Kathryn Barger abstained from the vote, which was 4-0.
“There’s no question that these people deserve hero pay,” Barger said but told her colleagues that she wanted to make sure there would not be unintended consequences before offering her support.
As envisioned, the ordinance would cover grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores and other retail locations that sell food or beverage products and have a health permit as a food market retailer issued by the Department of Public Health. It may also include retail drug stores selling groceries.
Solis and Mitchell said several grocery corporations offered $2 to $4 hourly raises at the outset of the pandemic, but that additional support lapsed in May.
The California Grocers Association pushed back hard, agreeing that their employees are heroes, but that the ordinance would result in higher food costs, hurting low-income families and seniors already struggling to cover those costs.
“Grocery store workers are frontline heroes, and that’s why grocers have undertaken a massive effort to institute store policies to make both workers and customers safer,” California Grocers Association President and CEO Ron Fong said. “Many grocers have already provided workers with extra pay, bonuses and generous health benefits during the pandemic as a supplement to the fair, competitive wages and benefits collectively bargained by grocery workers’ unions.
Fong urged the board to do more economic analysis, calling the plan a “knee-jerk proposal,” adding that workers themselves might be hurt if stores cut hours or lay off workers to accommodate the higher wages.
Solis and Mitchell cited a Brookings Institution study finding that a group of 13 top retailers boasted an average 40 percent increase in profits last year, in total earning an additional $16.7 billion, based on quarterly earnings numbers available as of November.
The analysis of 13 companies included two traditional grocers, along with Walmart, Target, Amazon, and a range of other retailers, including home improvement stores.
“This public health crisis and the economic unraveling have widened the already deep divide between low-wage frontline workers and their employers and shareholders,” according to the motion.
The association said in addition to increased pay and spot bonuses, some grocers have enhanced benefits and created tens of thousands of new jobs statewide since March.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
- Shutdown Shame: ‘No Guarantee’ 380,000 Federal Workers Will Get Back Pay
- Here are the victims of the Las Vegas shooting
- Aldi to become UK's 'best-paying supermarket' with wage rise
- Grenfell hero hanged herself after texting her boyfriend 'my job on this earth is done' years after helping set up victims' shelter
- Lowe's spent billions on share buybacks, zero on severance for laid-off workers
- It's Simple. To Make Air Travel Safer, Pay Airport Workers More
- Aldi gives pay rise after UK sales exceed £10bn for first time
- China's tech workers burn out mentally and physically in the '996' rat race
- Backlash against migrant workers in Asia-Pacific sparks slavery concerns
- 'Harvey Weinstein’s Hollywood hero tried to rape me'. Actress Carol Drinkwater reveals book the disgraced producer was seen carrying was written by an Oscar-winning director who 'forced himself on her'
- Philadelphia May Cut Subsidies to UPenn for Not Paying Minimum Wage
- Aldi to give thousands of workers a pay rise next working with staff getting up to £11.15 an hour
- Thousands of Aldi workers to get above minimum wage pay rise
- Hero factory worker stabbed to death and Good Samaritan seriously hurt after confronting gang of drunken youths
- Aldi to raise employee pay and hire 3,800 more workers
- Recruitment adviser struggles to pay bills on £700 a month maternity leave
- France mourns as funerals take place for the retired winemaker, bricklayer, butcher and hero policeman slain in ISIS gunman's rampage and supermarket siege
- Fight For $15 Crowd Slams Self-Checkout Machines Replacing Workers
- A tale of two abdications: The uncanny parallels between Harry and Edward VIII - the playboys who became hero soldiers then dramatically abandoned the Royal Family
- Councils spend millions on agency social workers amid recruiting crisis
LA Grocery Workers Could Receive $5 An Hour More For ‘Hero Pay’ have 894 words, post on losangeles.cbslocal.com at January 5, 2021. This is cached page on Movie Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.