By Cristina Laila Published February 3, 2021 at 3:00pm
Supermarket retailer Kroger was forced to close two of its stores in Long Beach, California after the city council passed a mandate requiring companies with more than 300 employees to pay workers an extra $4 per hour.
This is just a taste of what’s to come with Joe Biden’s federal minimum wage increase to $15 per hour.
The mandate, dubbed “Hero Pay,” was designed to compensate grocery store workers for working in “dangerous” conditions due to the Covid pandemic – but it backfired.
Ralphs and Food 4 Less, owned by the parent company Kroger will be closing on April 17 due to the oppressive ordinance.
“As a result of the City of Long Beach’s decision to pass an ordinance mandating Extra Pay for grocery workers, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close long-struggling store locations in Long Beach,” said a company spokesperson. “This misguided action by the Long Beach City Council oversteps the traditional bargaining process and applies to some, but not all, grocery workers in the city.”
Kroger said it invested more than $1.3 billion since March to implement Covid safety measures and compensate employees.
Fox LA reported:
According to Kroger, the Ralphs store at 3380 N. Los Coyotes Diagonal and the Food4Less store at 2185 E. South St. will close on April 17.
The city council unanimously approved the wage increase on Jan. 19 to compensate grocery store workers for the dangers they face in serving the public during the coronavirus pandemic. The ordinance was tentatively approved, and a final vote is scheduled for Feb. 2.
The company spokesperson noted that the Long Beach City Council’s mandate does nothing to raise wages for the frontline workers the city employs.
“The irreparable harm that will come to employees and local citizens as a direct result of the City of Long Beach’s attempt to pick winners and losers, is deeply unfortunate,” continued the company spokesperson. “We are truly saddened that our associates and customers will ultimately be the real victims of the city council’s actions.”
“In addition to providing several rewards to all frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates, the organization has invested to support associates through additional benefits like paid emergency leave and the companies’ $15 million Helping Hands fund that provides financial support to associates experiencing certain hardships due to COVID-19,” the companies spokesperson wrote in a joint press release. “All extra pay provided was in addition to the total compensation package Ralphs and Food 4 Less have long offered to associates, which includes competitive wages, strong health care coverage, and a reliable pension benefit.”
The California Grocers Association filed a legal challenge to the mandate calling it unconstitutional. (Click to Source)