The King County Council on Tuesday approved a pay increase for grocery workers for the remainder of the pandemic emergency, according to a release.
The council specifically approved a proposal that adds a $4-per-hour hazard pay increase for employees of large grocery stores in the unincorporated King County area. The temporary raise will not be applied to independently owned stores in historically underserved communities.
“The pandemic economy has worsened inequities for workers and communities,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in the King County release. “While small businesses and governments are stretched thin providing basic and essential services, many large grocery chains are seeing record profits. And while that’s good for them, it’s fair that they share with the frontline workers who show up every day to help keep our communities fed and our economy moving.”
The council decision follows in the wake of recent Seattle and Burien measures that implemented similar measures.
The hazard pay increase will take effect on March 22.
“For the last year I have visited with, and thanked the checkers, stockers, butchers, and deli workers at the grocery stores I shop,” Councilmember Rod Dembowski, who drafted the new legislation, said in the release. “I have seen and heard their fatigue, and also their courage and dedication to their customers. These extraordinary times call for governments like King County to respond with extraordinary help. I am proud to stand with these frontline workers and ensure that the risks they and their families are taking, and the dedication they are showing, is reflected in our laws, and in their paychecks. Four dollars an hour is a small price to pay to ensure the continued service they are providing to our communities.”