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Hazard Pay Approved for Grocery Workers in Parts of the County

Some hazard payments Key worker You will arrive in the unincorporated area of ​​Santa Clara County in 30 days.

On Tuesday, the county’s supervisory board resolved to temporarily require large grocery stores and pharmacies to add $ 5 an hour to their employees in addition to their regular wages.

“This ordinance ensures that certain key workers faced with increased risk and increased costs during a pandemic continue to have stable and reliable access to food, medicine and other daily necessities. We are promoting an important public purpose that we have aimed at, “said supervisor Susan Elenberg.

Payment increases will continue for 180 days or until the end of the county’s Covid-19 Public Health Emergency.

The new obligation applies to grocery stores and pharmacies with more than 300 employees nationwide and at least 15 employees in the county’s unincorporated area. It also applies to franchises that own at least 10 grocery stores or drug stores in the state.

The approved law applies to all cities in the county except San Jose and is a reduced version of the original proposal from January, including workers in large chain restaurants. Mike Wasserman, chairman of the board, declined to vote because of his financial relationship with McDonald’s.

The $ 5 boost and hazard pay length from the original proposal remains the same.

Pressure from a business group representing a grocery store forced the county’s hand — Elenberg found a disappointing move.

“Contrary to some opposition arguments, this is not a special interests law,” Elenberg said. “The fact that this ordinance is only for (specific grocery store and pharmacy workers) … but not all workers are worried about their motives. To remedy some harm. It’s a step-by-step step. “

The most prominent opposition came from the California General Store Association, which filed several proceedings against California cities that enacted similar legislation.

The organization argued that additional payments would force grocery stores to take cost-cutting measures, such as raising the price of goods, reducing employee time, and closing stores.

“Unfortunately, [hazard pay] It will require grocery stores to pay more than is economically feasible. This has serious implications for store viability, rising food prices, limiting business hours, shortening worker hours, reducing workers per store, and most worrisome. It is possible that the store will be closed. “Tim James of the California Food Association said in a letter to the supervisor.

The Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the region’s largest chamber of commerce, was also organized in opposition to the ordinance, arguing that raising wages would lead to unemployment and exacerbate food insecurity.

The Chamber of Commerce Union, which consists of 18 local chambers of commerce, advertised its success in a monthly newsletter, stating that the new changes “will have little impact on businesses and workers in our community.” Said.

For them, a better solution was to get their employees vaccinated as soon as possible.

However, local labor groups, unions and community organizations argued that the ordinance was essential because employees endangered the lives of their loved ones and themselves in order to provide essential services to the community.

Jim Arby, director of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union’s Local 5 Strategic Campaign, said he didn’t buy the argument that grocery stores couldn’t afford hazard pay.

Kroger, which also owns QFC, Fred Meyer, Haristeater, and Ralphs, advertises a significant profit surge of $ 2 billion in the two quarters of 2020, according to a report on the Brookings Institution website. Albertsons, which owns Randalls, Safeway and Star Market, made $ 871 million in profits in the three quarters of 2020. This is a three-fold explosive increase over the previous year, “writes Arby. “No doubt, these companies are making big profits from the pandemic, but they can’t afford to offer them a few dollars of dangerous wages, even though they are at risk of working every day. Probably. “

However, Elenberg said the ordinance guaranteed “airtight enforcement in light of legal restrictions.”

Elenberg also urged county lawyers to share ordinances with cities in the county and encourage them to adopt similar ordinances as soon as possible.

“The county-wide consistency is certainly valuable to employers who are burdened with the ordinance and will help them influence more broadly on behalf of those who really have access to additional support right now.” She said.

This hazard pay adds the county to other Bay Area cities such as Auckland and San Jose. San Jose was the first city in the county to approve hazard pay earlier this month.

Hazard Pay Approved for Grocery Workers in Parts of the County Source link Hazard Pay Approved for Grocery Workers in Parts of the County

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