Kroger closes Ralphs & Food-4-Less in Long Beach in response to LB City Council's "Hero's Pay"
Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the United States, has responded against the Long Beach City Council's new "Hero's Pay" ordinance for grocery workers by closing two locations in the Long Beach area.
Why it matters:
In May 2020, Kroger ended their $2 an hour "Hero's Pay" bonus for employees who were thrust into essential status due to the pandemic, Newsweek reported.
Driving the news:
Last month, Long Beach became the only municipality to enact a law mandating supermarket chains, with more than 300 workers nationally and at least 15 workers locally, to pay an extra $4 for grocery workers.
UFCW, a union representing grocery workers, including workers at Kroger's, reported that at least 109 grocery workers have died from COVID-19. More than 17,400 grocery workers have been infected, per CBS News.
Last month after Long Beach City Council approved the wage increase, the California Grocers Association filed a federal court lawsuit against the city, claiming the ordinance was "illegal."
What they're saying:
"As a result of the city of Long Beach's decision to pass an ordinance mandating extra pay for grocery workers, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close long-struggling store locations in Long Beach," the company said in a statement.
Kroger says they will close the Ralphs in East Long Beach at 3380 N. Los Coyotes Diagonal and the Food4Less at 2185 E. South Street in North Long Beach on April 17, the closures would impact up to 200 employees.
The Mayor's Office hasn't responded to a request for comment.