Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

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By Stan Greene
Observer Staff Writer 

Santa Monica City Council Approves Combat Pay for Grocery Store Workers

Viewed as overpaid employees before 2020, Grocery store clerks are now viewed as the heroes of the pandemic.


February 9, 2021

Vons employees during Halloween 2020.

The Santa Monica City Council voted to approve a temporary pay increase of $5 per hour for grocery and drug store employees in the city.

A similar measure in Long Beach resulted in Kroger (parent company of Food-4-Less and Ralphs) closing two stores in less affluent parts of Long Beach.

Vons shopper with a dog wearing a mask.

Sponsored by Kevin McKeown last week, the "Hero Pay" measure is similar to a temporary urgency ordinance that Los Angele County Supervisors approved on Jan. 26. It applies to unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Statewide orders signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom mandated more pay for grocery store employees. These were temporary measures that expired.

Grocery store employees are believed to have a greater rise of exposure to Covid-19. Several employees of each of the major grocery companies, such as Vons and Ralphs, have died from Covid complications since the worldwide coronavirus pandemic began in March of 2020.

Viewed as overpaid union employees prior to the lockdowns of March 16, 2020, Grocery store clerks are now viewed as the heroes of the pandemic.


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