For workers in major grocery and drug stores in Irvine, a $ 4 hourly hourly pay hike is expected from the end of March and will continue throughout the summer.
The Extra Peril, or “Hero’s Payment” is a new mandate approved by Irvine City Council on Tuesday, February 23rd. This makes Irvine the first Orange County city to pass a pay raise measure for cities like Long Beach, Los Angeles and Montebello, and West Hollywood and several Bay Area communities have also set up.
Buena Park city guides also approved a temporary $ 4 an hour hike on Tuesday, but the council will have to take a second procedural vote before it can go into effect.
Proponents of the wage increases say grocery and pharmacy workers deserve compensation for continuing to show up for work and serve the public during the coronavirus pandemic, potentially putting their health or that of their families at risk.
“Buena Park City Council and others recognize the need for profitable food and drug companies to pay workers according to the risks,” Andrea Zinder, president of UFCW Local 324, said in a statement Wednesday. “Our members have worked under tremendous stress and are exposed to the virus every day they work.”
However, opponents have argued that the government shouldn’t mandate private sector pay, citing the announcements of store closures and lawsuits in cities that approved the increases.
Long Beach, Montebello, West Hollywood, and a few other cities are being sued by the California Grocers Association, arguing that the mandatory pay increases will violate state and federal laws and force companies to raise prices, cut hours, or close business shut down.
In Irvine, two of the five city council members cited concerns about a lawsuit as a reason for not supporting the additional compensation measure.
Irvine’s Hazard Pay measure is designed to cover larger grocery chains and pharmacies while leaving out mom and pop stores. This applies to businesses with at least 20 employees that are larger than 15,000 square meters or belong to a company with a total of 500 or more employees. The measure does not apply to businesses in which bonuses have already been paid for their employees.