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Long Beach City Council Gives Final Approval For Extra $4 Per Hour In Hazard Pay For Grocery Workers

LONG BEACH (CBSLA) – Grocery store employees in Long Beach will receive a temporary $4 per hour increase in hazard pay for the risks associated with working during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Long Beach City Council Tuesday gave unanimous approval to an ordinance which will require grocers with at least 300 employees nationwide to provide their employees with an extra $4 per hour in hazard pay for at least the next 120 days.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said he will sign the ordinance into law Wednesday.

"Tomorrow, on the day we inaugurate our new President, I'll sign into law a $4 an hour hero pay increase to our hardworking grocery and supermarket workers," Garcia tweeted Tuesday night. "They have been on the frontlines of this pandemic and deserve this support."

Garcia lost both his mother and stepfather to COVID-19 over the summer and has been vocal about the effects of the pandemic.

The city council gave its preliminary approval to the ordinance back in mid-December. A few days later, Los Angeles City councilors proposed a motion which would provide their grocery store workers with an extra $5 per hour in hazard pay.

That motion is still under consideration.

The California Grocers Association -- a trade group which represents hundreds of grocery stores statewide -- on Wednesday announced it is filing a federal lawsuit against the city of Long Beach seeking to block the law.

"This ordinance could lead to higher grocery prices and severely limit store viability, resulting in limited store operating hours, reduced hours for employees, fewer employment opportunities, and most concerning, possible store closures," CGA President Rong Fong said in a statement. "These negative impacts would be felt most acutely by customers and workers in low-income and disadvantaged communities."

On Tuesday, a new large-scale COVID-19 vaccination site opened at the Long Beach Convention Center. Grocery workers and food workers are the first group to be vaccinated there.

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