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Mayor Garcia Signs "Hero's Pay" ordinance for Grocery Workers; Faces Legal Challenge from Grocers


Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has signed the newly passed "Hero's Pay" ordinance that would require the largest supermarkets opening in Long Beach to pay their workers an extra $4 an hour due to the hazardous conditions brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


Why it matters:

According to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, at least 82 grocery store workers nationwide have died from COVID-19.

  • A study by the Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that 20% of grocery store workers faced a higher infection rate, and most were asymptomatic.

What's in the ordinance?

The new legislation applies to the largest supermarkets within the city, with 300+ workers nationwide and more than 15 employees per store in Long Beach. The"Hero's Pay" only lasts for 120 days.

  • The Long Beach City Council unanimously passed the tentative measure Tuesday night, with the final vote on the measure to occur on Feb. 2.

The grocers strike back:

On Wednesday, the California Grocers Association filed a lawsuit against the City of Long Beach in federal court, seeking an injunction to prevent the "Hero's Pay" ordinance until the case can be heard before a judge, per Fox 11.

  • The CGA contends that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it is singling out specific grocers and overlooking other industries that employ essential workers.

  • The CGA also asserts that the "Hero's Pay" ordinance would preempt the National Labor Relations Act, which is protecting the collective-bargaining process.

Elsewhere:

  • The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors created a similar law that would require a $5 per hour increase for employees at national grocery and drug retailers in unincorporated areas of the county.


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