Wedgwood, Capitol Hill QFC stores close due to hazard pay
Two Seattle QFC stores — one in Wedgwood, one in Capitol Hill — are now closed.
QFC announced in February that it would be closing the pair of Seattle locations, blaming the Seattle City Council’s hazard pay ordinance that gives frontline grocery workers an added $4 an hour for the duration of the pandemic.
“Really for these two struggling stores, the decision by the city really made the decision for us,” QFC spokesperson Tiffany Sanders told KIRO 7 TV in February.
The grocery chain cited “razor slim profit margins” brought on the hazard pay as the reason for the closures, combined with its existing compensation packages to employees and added costs of pandemic safety measures, while criticizing city leaders for singling out the grocery industry.
Supporters of hazard pay for grocery workers, though, have pointed to sizable revenues large grocery chains have pulled in over the course of the pandemic.
QFC says 90% of the employees at the two locations are moving to other stores. There are more than 60 QFC locations, under parent company Kroger, across the Puget Sound region.
Burien, Edmonds, and unincorporated King County have each enacted hazard pay requirements of their own to compensate for the risk grocery stores workers are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.