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Los Angeles County approves “hero wages” for grocery workers



As part of the state’s 120-day “hero wage” rule that went into effect on Friday, hundreds of legal-person Los Angeles County grocery store workers will receive a hazard pay of $5 per hour as part of their normal wages.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to require a salary increase for publicly traded grocery stores or retail drug companies or companies that have at least 300 employees nationwide, and each store site has more than 10 employees. The measure only applies to unincorporated areas, benefiting approximately 2,500 grocery store workers per hour.

Hilda Solis, the director of the initiative, said in a statement: “Since the pandemic began, these workers have been destined to keep our food supply chain running and provide what our families need. Drugs.” “Many people work in fear and don’t have enough financial support, while their employers continue to see profit growth, and executives receive generous bonuses.”

Supervisor Kathryn Barger voted against the measure. She said that she believes that the measure misses many necessary workers and may have unintended consequences.

Bajer said officials have been working hard to bring retailers to food wastelands in areas where unincorporated people gather, such as the grocery store outlet in Atadina. The company donated food to drive food during the pandemic.

“I don̵

7;t want to think we are driving [out of business] We worked very hard to find a lot of companies in non-corporate areas, many of which are working-class communities…that’s why I can’t vote for it,” said Badger, the only Republican on the board.

Since January, several cities including Santa Monica, San Jose, Berkeley and West Hollywood have considered or passed certain hazard pay directives.

In the coming days, the state’s statutes may be challenged by the California Grocers Association (California Grocers Assn.). The company sued the city of Long Beach after passing the “hero pay” measure.

“We will be forced to sue [the county] If it passes, it would be too unfortunate, because it means that we will obviously comply with a law that has been passed by law, and the clock of time starts, which will make it more difficult for businesses to conduct independent operations in Los Angeles County. “California Grocers Assn. (California Grocers Assn.) President and CEO, this company represents more than 300 retailers and operates more than 6,000 stores.

The association and local chambers of commerce refused to accept these instructions, arguing that they were unfairly targeting grocers operating low-margin businesses and therefore had no capital to cover these costs. Opponents also pointed out that since the pandemic began, grocers have provided millions of dollars in salary increases, bonuses and paid vacation.

The biggest supporter of the plan, the International Federation of Food and Commercial Workers, refuted these arguments, pointing out that during the pandemic, more and more customers were eating at home and grocery stores made millions; their brave Also appeared here to work. A virus that could kill them or their family members.

According to local 770 data collected by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Federation, since March, at least 5,500 unionized and ununionized workers in multiple grocery stores across Southern California have contracted the virus, at least during the winter surge in November. 428 people were infected.

John Grant, President of UFCW Local 770, said in a statement: “Daily non-hazardous remuneration exposes our members to huge risks at work, while also setting a record for keeping the grocery store open and busy. Profit.”

The Los Angeles City Council will consider its own “hero pay” ordinance on Wednesday.

A new city report found that in the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase in sales people get from storing groceries was only temporary and did not translate into a profitable trend for stores.

The report found that the Kroger and Albertsons achieved tremendous growth in early 2020. The report found that, despite this, “it was not until the peak of COVID-19 shopping in the first quarter of 2020 that the company achieved above-average profits, and by the third quarter, the company’s profits were already below average.” (The The county did not complete a similar analysis.)

Neil Saunders stated that retailers may try to absorb costs because they must remain competitive, but they may close underperforming stores, which may include areas in smaller suburbs with large Low-income neighbors of dollar stores and rural areas. Retail analyst at GlobalData.

Sanders said: “Or it could be a particularly weak or older store in a vibrant neighborhood, where new and better retailers are opening.”

Sanders said that grocers found that, especially during the pandemic, despite the growing popularity of grocery delivery, higher labor and transportation costs made the service unprofitable.

Sanders said: “If you keep messing up wages, the grocery store will start to say’OK, let’s see where we can lay off employees.'” Just.

Some people worry about how the patchwork of “hero wages” will sprout throughout Los Angeles County.

The county’s ordinance only applies to unconsolidated areas, including parts of Los Angeles in the south and most of Los Angeles County in the north. Many of the county’s 88 cities have no measures, which means that workers can live in one city with authorization and work in another city without authorization.

Burt P. Flickinger III, manager of Strategy Resource Group, a retail and consumer goods consulting firm, said the authorization should apply to all workers, not the grocery store, but the state and federal governments.

“Sacramento, the county and… Washington should make a collective effort, including these poor workers who have died, become ill, and have been affected by family tragedies, to get rewards for heroes, but the rewards for heroes are morally and economically. , Should be extracted from the COVID-19 Relief Act.” said Flickinger, who previously worked with a union working on behalf of the grocery store.

If it lasts only a few months, how much impact will the authorization of hazard pay actually have?

Data shows that before the pandemic, Californian households had an average of 10 meals at home and 11 meals out. Flissinger said that last year, more and more families were eating at home, so they spent more money on grocery bills.

He said, but as the government’s restrictions and fears on restaurant dining diminish, people will resume their past eating habits.

He said that grocery sales “will drop significantly, and as sales drop significantly, the operating profit of each store per store will also drop significantly.”

This may cause some retailers to close underperforming stores to make up for the cost of “hero pay.”

The staff of The Times, Dakota Smith, Ruben Vives and Suhauna Hussain contributed to this report.

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