Grocery Worker Hazard Pay before City Council

Grocery Worker Hazard Pay before City Council

The Grocery Worker Hazard Pay ordinance was one of several agenda items on the April 6 City Council meeting consent calendar.

There were 10 items on the consent calendar. The entire consent calendar can be approved by one motion. However, council can remove an item from the consent calendar. If so, the item will be discussed and voted on as an individual item. Members of the public had the opportunity to discuss the ordinance.

The ordinance would increase specific grocery store workers’ hourly wage by five dollars until Alameda County is under the minimal (yellow) risk level — the lowest of the four tiers — during the COVID-19 pandemic. The extra pay is deemed “hazard pay” because “workers have contin¬ued to work despite the danger of being exposed to and infected by the coronavirus,” according to the draft ordinance. Similar ordinances have already been approved in Berkeley, San Leandro, Emeryville and Oakland.

The council introduced the ordinance as an urgency ordinance at its March 16 meeting. It failed because urgency ordinances need a 4-1 approval vote to pass and the ordinance was voted, 3-2, in favor with councilmembers Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer opposing. The councilmembers voted, 3-2, to place it on the consent calendar.

The pay increase will only affect workers at large grocery store franchises that employ 500 or more employees nationwide and its store is more than 15,000 square feet in size. These stores include Nob Hill, Safeway and Lucky’s. The ordinance will go into in effect 30 days after its final passage.

The vote occurred after the Alameda Sun went to press.