‘I am 100% committed’: Mayor Durkan rejects calls to veto grocery store ‘hazard pay’

Feb 2, 2021, 2:37 PM | Updated: Feb 3, 2021, 7:59 am
Lawsuit Hazard pay, grocery stores...
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

After the Seattle City Council approved an extra $4 an hour in “hazard pay” for grocery store workers, PCC Markets called on Mayor Jenny Durkan to veto the legislation. Despite that, Durkan indicated Tuesday that she still intends to sign it into law.

Seattle City Council approves $4 more per hour for grocery workers

“It is past time that the effort and the critical role grocery workers have played in this pandemic be recognized,” Durkan said.

Councilmembers plan to keep the hazard pay in effect at least until grocery store employees are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, which could be as soon as April 2021 according to the state’s roadmap.

PCC Markets CEO Suzy Monford detailed her wish to prevent the extra pay from going into effect in a letter addressed to Mayor Durkan. In it, she cited the company’s “slim profit margin,” while claiming that Washington grocery stores are already safe places to work.

“According to a Washington State Department of Labor and Industries report issued in November 2020, only 5% of all non-health care COVID workplace outbreaks occurred in grocery stores, and grocery stores accounted for less than 2.8% of all workplace outbreaks,” she wrote. “… We hope, given local business concerns, you’ll consider not signing the bill, or alternatively, modify it to exclude the smaller, local grocers who will be deeply damaged by this ordinance.”

Gig Harbor restaurant owner: ‘It’s time that we start turning that dial up’

Other larger grocery chains have echoed Monford’s concerns, with Fred Meyer and QFC parent company Kroger closing a pair of Long Beach, Calif., locations in response to the city’s own recently-passed 120-day $4-an-hour pay raise.

Trader Joe’s, though, is going in a different direction in reaction to Seattle’s legislation, instead opting to enact the extra $4 an hour nationwide. In a notice posted to a staff bulletin board at a Seattle location, management stated that it would be “unfair for all stores throughout the company” to have just one city’s workers benefit from the added pay. The company plans to pay for the temporary pay raise by forgoing its regularly scheduled permanent raises in 2021, which typically range between 65 and 75 cents an hour annually.

Local News

Puget Sound region storm...
MyNorthwest Staff

Storm knocks down trees, power lines, with handful of Puget Sound schools closing on Monday

A storm swept across the Puget Sound region over the weekend, with windy and rainy conditions expected to continue through the early portion of the week. 
7 hours ago
fall city...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Two dead after tree crushes car in Fall City

Two people are dead after a tree fell on a car in Fall City on Sunday afternoon, according to Eastside Fire and Rescue.
1 day ago
Paine Field...
Kathryn Altena

Paine Field recertified as ‘Salmon Safe’ by Oregon based nonprofit

Paine Field was recently recertified as "Salmon Safe" by an Oregon based environmental nonprofit, after first earning the certification in 2019.
1 day ago
MyNorthwest Staff

UW Medicine study seeks local participants to understand COVID spread

UW Medicine invites Washington state residents up to age 85 to submit a survey about their exposure to COVID during the pandemic as part of a study.
2 days ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Amazon hiring for more than 500 positions at new sort center in Fife

A new Amazon facility in Fife, Washington, that's set to open later this month has starting hiring for more than 500 positions.
2 days ago
Nicole Jennings

Rural Eastern Washington hospitals say no big losses in staffing post-vaccine mandate

Some of the rural Eastern Washington hospitals that were expected to have big losses after the vaccine mandate say things are going well.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
‘I am 100% committed’: Mayor Durkan rejects calls to veto grocery store ‘hazard pay’