Oakland becomes latest city to require grocery chains to pay in-store workers hazard pay

Target grocery store workers COVID-19
Posted at 12:53 PM, Feb 04, 2021

Oakland, California, became the latest city to require large supermarkets to give workers a raise Tuesday, citing the risk the workers face amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle and the East Bay Times, the Oakland city council voted unanimously on Tuesday to pass an ordinance forcing grocery stores to pay workers an additional $5 an hour for hazard pay.

The ordinance applies to grocery store locations of more than 15,000 square feet and chains that have more than 500 employees nationwide. According to the East Bay Times, the new rules apply to supermarkets like Cardenas Markets, Safeway/Albertsons, Save Mart, Target, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

Oakland joined other West Coast cities like Seattle, Long Beach, California and Santa Monica, California in requiring hazard pay for grocery workers. City governments in Los Angeles, San Jose, California and Berkley, California, are currently considering passing similar legislation.

When COVID-19 arrived in the U.S. early last year, several grocery chains announced they would increase pay for in-store workers and grant additional time off for those who got sick.

However, some chains have let those increased benefits lapse. In fact, Kroger announced it was closing two grocery stores in Long Beach soon after the city instituted mandatory hazard pay.