From Pierce County Coucilman Ryan Mello:
“Hazard pay for grocery workers has already been enacted across several neighboring jurisdictions including King County, Olympia, Seattle, Burien, and Edmonds. Now more than ever, with the pandemic continuing here in Pierce County, it is time to stand with our grocery workers. I am proud to join CM Hitchen as a co-sponsor to this ordinance and thank her for her leadership in bringing this forward for a vote.
This Friday, 4/30 at 9:30 AM the ordinance will be considered for a “do pass” recommendation before the Human Services Committee with a final council vote scheduled for Tuesday, 5/4 at 3 PM. This is moving quickly because our grocery worker heroes need our support now as we experience a 4th COVID wave. Help us by sharing this post TODAY and tell your friends why you stand with grocery workers!”
- Human Services Committee Hearing – Friday, April 30th @ 9:30 AM: CLICK HERE for Committee Page (Agenda and packet have not yet been posted).
- At this meeting, the ordinance will be considered for a pass recommendation by the committee. Members here include CM Young (Chair), CM Hitchen (Vice Chair), CM Campbell, CM Zeiger, and CM Cruver.
- Final consideration before full council – Tuesday, May 4th @ 3:00 PM: CLICK HERE for Council Meeting Page (Agenda and packet will be posted late this week).
Pierce County Hazard Pay Proposed Ordinance
About the Ordinance
• The Pierce County Council is considering an ordinance proposing hazard pay for grocery store employees, effective through the duration of the governor’s declared COVID-19 emergency.o Although all front-line workers need help – and we believe all workers serving our communities during this terrible pandemic should get hazard pay – this ordinance is limited to grocery workers for one simple reason: these employers clearly have the financial resources to reinstate hazard pay (see reverse for details).
• The ordinance is co-sponsored by councilmembers Jani Hitchen, District 6, and Ryan Mello, District 4.
• The ordinance as initially drafted proposes that all employees of a grocery store with 500 or more employees worldwide shall receive an additional $4/hour of hazard pay during their shift. Small grocers are exempted.
• The ordinance applies to incorporated and unincorporated Pierce County.
o Pierce County believes that there is strong legal precedent for enacting the ordinance county-wide and regional action is needed now.
o Having a uniform regional policy will assure that stores will not be closed just because one city stood up for grocery workers in that municipality, thereby avoiding the creation of ‘food deserts.”
• Grocery stores profits have increased tremendously this last year (see reverse for details).
• Grocery workers have been on the frontlines for the last year and while the proposed additional pay won’t make their jobs easier, it provides much-needed compensation for the hazards of working while facing significant exposure to COVID-19.
o When the schools closed to in-seat learning requiring kids to attend virtual school, essential grocery workers did not have the option of working from home and instead have been burdened with unanticipated childcare expenses.
o Further, grocery workers have had to bear the unexpected costs of purchasing their own personal protection equipment, COVID tests, and losing pay due to illness or exposure.
• With a fourth COVID surge, rising case counts, and a roll back to Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington reopening plan, grocery workers are facing unprecedented danger by showing up to work every day. These working families face many hardships in an already low-paid environment. That’s not fair and hazard pay is the least Pierce County can do.
• We need to make sure all members of our community have a safe place to work and are taken care of.
Does This Supersede Collective Bargaining?
• No. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the parties is in full effect until May 2022 and that contract is not altered in any way by these hazard pay ordinances.
• The union has an MOU with the grocers regarding the pandemic; however, the continuation or reinstatement of hazard pay is NOT included in those agreements.
Turn over for background information and other key details.