The nation’s second-largest grocery chain has announced the closure of two stores in Seattle, after the city passed a $4-an-hour hazard pay mandate for grocery workers, according to the Washington Post.
“Unfortunately, Seattle City Council didn’t consider that grocery stores — even in a pandemic — operate on razor-thin profit margins in a very competitive landscape,” the company said in a statement. “When you factor in the increased costs of operating during covid-19, coupled with consistent financial losses at these two locations, and this new extra pay mandate, it becomes impossible to operate a financially sustainable business.”
The hazard pay mandates were instituted because grocery employees were deemed “front line workers” due to their interaction with the public during the pandemic.
Hazard pay and other pandemic-related bonuses became popular among corporate grocery and retail giants, amid wider public attention on the plight of essential workers during the early spread of the coronavirus last year. Companies including Kroger, Target, Walmart, Amazon, Rite Aid and Albertsons instituted the policy.
The move comes two weeks after Kroger announced the closure of stores in Long Beach, California over similar hazard pay legislation, blaming local officials after they passed a law mandating that grocery stores with at least 300 workers nationwide or 15 employees within Long Beach to pay an additional $4 an hour for a 120-day period.- READ MORE
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