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LA City Council Approves $5 Hero Pay; Emergency Order Goes To Garcetti For Signature

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An emergency order boosting the pay of grocery store and pharmacy workers during the pandemic has been approved by the L.A. City Council and now goes to Mayor Eric Garcetti for his signature.

Dawn to dusk story on grocery store workers. Dan Graves store director of the Vons located at 24325 Crenshaw Blvd in Torrance starts the day early before doors open at 6 a..m. for seniors and at-risk shoppers due to the Coronavirus.
TORRANCE, CA - APRIL 27: Jose Gonzalez, grocery manager at the Vons located at 24325 Crenshaw Blvd in Torrance arranges product on shelves before doors open at 6 a.m. for seniors and at-risk shoppers due to the Coronavirus. Most of the team arrives at 5 a.m. to stock the shelves with product, sanitize the location for staff and shoppers, and picker/shoppers begin to collect items for .com home delivery shoppers. Vendors arriving throughout the morning must read a checklist of warnings, sign in and they must wear face covering. Vons on Monday, April 27, 2020 in Torrance, CA. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The "hero pay" emergency order requires larger grocery stores and pharmacies in the city of Los Angeles to pay its workers an extra $5 an hour for the next 120 days. The order applies to stores with more than 300 employees nationwide, or more than 10 employees on site.

"Cashiers, stockers, baggers and so many more have risked their lives every day since March making minimum wage to make sure we have everything we need to stay safely at home to get through this crisis,'' she said. "While these companies have seen massive profits, it has not trickled down to their employees. These companies can afford to pay the hazard pay, they just don't want to.''

Garcetti has indicated he supports the order and would sign it when it reaches his desk.

UFCW 770, which represents more than 25,000 grocery and drug retail workers in Southern California, applauded the approval and said it was a recognition of the sacrifice workers and their families have made as much of the region shut down due to the pandemic.

"It's unconscionable to see how grocery corporations have doubled their profits during the pandemic, –with Ralphs and Albertsons alone raking in $6.8 billion in profits– while they still refuse to compensate the front-line workers making this windfall possible," John Grant, president of UFCW 770, said in a statement.

Similar ordinances have already been approved in Long Beach, Montebello, Irvine, and Coachella, and is under consideration in Santa Ana. Los Angeles County also passed a hero pay ordinance for its unincorporated areas.

However, such ordinances have also prompted a backlash from grocery store giant Kroger, which responded by announcing they would close two stores in Long Beach.

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