Port Angeles awaits Seattle lawsuit before drafting own grocery worker hazard pay proposal

Mar 4, 2021, 8:45 AM | Updated: 10:39 am
Grocery worker hazard pay...
Port Angeles could be the next battleground for grocery worker hazard pay ordinances. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

The Port Angeles City Council will soon draft its own grocery store worker hazard pay bill, as the latest city to consider the ordinance to compensate frontline workers.

Mayor Durkan rejects calls to veto grocery store hazard pay

This came Tuesday in the form of a unanimous vote from the council to direct staff to have the ordinance written and ready for an April 6 introduction, followed by a second reading and possible vote on April 20.

Specific details of the Port Angeles proposal, though, won’t be determined until a March 18 hearing for a lawsuit filed against Seattle for its own extra $4 an hour grocery store hazard pay ordinance. The lawsuit was filed in February in U.S. District Court by the Northwest Grocery Association and the Washington Food Industry Association, asking the court to declare the ordinance void and grant a preliminary injunction to halt its enactment while litigation plays out.

Both grocery associations say the ordinance does not consider existing union agreements, and is unfair because other essential workers in Seattle are not getting the extra pay.

Opinion: Shades of hypocrisy in Seattle hazard pay debate

Port Angeles has just two grocery store locations — a Safeway and a Saar’s Super Saver Foods — with more than 250 employees, which is expected to be the cap set by the city once its ordinance is fully written. Stores under that 250 employee minimum would not be subject to hazard pay requirements.

Even while Seattle faces a fight to defend its ordinance in court, others across the region and country have followed suit with their own versions. Locally, that includes a $5 an hour hazard pay measure recently enacted in Burien, and a $4 an hour proposal for unincorporated King County that was passed out of a county council committee on Wednesday. Outside of Washington, cities like Los Angeles and Long Beach have also adopted their own versions of the measure.

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Port Angeles awaits Seattle lawsuit before drafting own grocery worker hazard pay proposal