LOS ANGELES, CA – The Board of Supervisors today approved an urgency ordinance, enacted by a motion authored by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, and co-authored by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, to require grocery and drug retail employers to provide “Hero Pay,” an additional five dollars per hour, to employees working frontline positions as compensation for the hazards they continue to face during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Grocery and drug retail employees have continued to report to work and serve our communities, despite the ongoing hazards and dangers of being exposed to COVID-19,” said Chair Solis. “These workers, many of whom include older adults and single mothers, have put their lives on the line since the beginning of the pandemic to keep our food supply chain running and provide access to medicine our families need. Many are working in fear and without adequate financial support, while their employers continue to see profits grow and top executives receive steep pay bonuses. I am proud of this Board for acting with courage to support our heroes on the frontlines to be justly compensated for the unprecedented risks they encounter on the job. We will not be intimated. Rather, we remain committed in our ongoing fight for the rights and dignity of our most vulnerable.”
“We were intentional about this ordinance not creating barriers to a workers’ ability to receive critical benefits- this is why this ordinance includes the option for paid leave in lieu of increased pay. This is important because many essential workers do not earn enough to live in LA even with full time pay and are dependent on other government programs for food, housing and childcare. Our frontline workers, grocery and drug-retail employees sacrifice and risk their health every day in service to our communities and its time we compensate them accordingly,” Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell
A study conducted by the Brookings Institution found that these top, publicly traded retailers have seen a 40% increase in profit averaging $16.7 billion in extra profit in 2020, while their stock prices increased by an average of 33%. Although these inequalities have been exposed, this public health crisis and the economic unraveling have widened the already deep divide between low-wage frontline workers and their employers and shareholders.
The passage of today’s motion adopts an urgency ordinance to require grocery and drug retail employers, who are publicly traded or have 300 or more employees nationwide and more than 10 employees per store site, to provide frontline non-exempt hourly employees in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County with “Hero Pay” – an additional five dollars per hour in wages to sunset in 120 days. Roughly two thousand employees will benefit from this urgency ordinance.
The motion also directs the County’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, in consultation with the Workforce, Development, Aging, & Community Services (WDACS), to report to the Board of Supervisors within 90 days of the date of adoption on the effectiveness of the provisions of the urgency ordinance, recommendations for additional provisions that further the intent of the ordinance including workforce development opportunities, and whether the provisions of the ordinance are still necessary based on the County’s recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.
Cities across the nation have introduced similar urgency ordinances for “Hero Pay” including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Oakland, Berkeley, West Hollywood, Irvine, Coachella, Pomona, and Montebello.
To view the motion, click here.