Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson is proposing an ordinance that would require Edmonds grocery stores to pay their employees an extra $4 an hour in hazard pay until the COVID-19 emergency subsides.
“My number-one priority is keeping Edmonds safe and healthy,” Nelson said in a Friday announcement. “Grocery store employees serve a key role in our community for safe and reliable access to our food. The proposed ordinance is critical to promoting job retention during the pandemic. Grocery workers are on the frontline working in a hazardous situation every day.”
Edmonds, Nelson said, “supports workforce practices that help ensure economic security and contribute to a fair, healthy, and vibrant economy.”
The mayor pointed to other municipalities that have enacted hazard pay legislation, including King County and the cities of Seattle and Burien, as well as several California municipalities. More cities are expected to announce similar legislation this year, he said.
As proposed, the ordinance would require grocery stores that employ 500 or more workers statewide to provide their employees with hazard pay of $4 per hour for each hour worked in Edmonds until Gov. Jay Inslee lifts the COVID-19 state of emergency in Washington. It applies to “grocery businesses” over 10,000 square feet in size that are primarily engaged in selling groceries for offsite consumption, or businesses over 85,000 square feet in size with 30% or more of the sales floor dedicated to the sale of groceries. The ordinance does not apply to convenience stores, food marts or farmers markets, the mayor said.
A spokesperson for PCC Community Markets noted that PCC instituted $4 hazard pay for all employees across their 15 locations, including Edmonds, as of Feb. 3, 2021. As of late Friday afternoon, there was no response to the mayor’s proposal from other chain grocery stores with locations in Edmonds that we contacted for comment.
This ordinance will be presented to city council for consideration during the council’s Tuesday, April 6 business meeting.