Nelson proposes hazard pay for Edmonds grocery store workers

Mayor Mike Nelson originally proposed the gun storage ordinance while he was on the city council.

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.


  1. More nonsensical pandering from Mayor Late To The Party. Is this an April fools joke? We are a year into countless job losses to people who should never have been quarantined and we are going to start going after companies, based solely on their income? Just to make a level playing field for PCC? If this had happened a year ago, it wouldn’t come across as the complete and utter sham it obviously is. How about all of the non-essential businesses that have been packed this whole time? There we are, staying six feet apart while the “experts” ignore every past pandemic recommendation and have us foolish running around in masks with filtration levels that protect us from nothing, not even secondhand smoke. Go ahead and punish all of our local businesses, in your desperate attempt at relevance. That’s about par with this mayor’s past leadership attempts.

      1. What about Rashid at Paktia Pharmacy, his whole family is working to administer as much covid vaccines that he can get to help protect as many Edmonds residents as he possibly can. A true community hero. Now that’s what I would consider hazard pay acknowledgement from the mayor of the city of Edmonds

    1. How does Mike Nelson not understand what a CBA is?
      I have a better idea, we citizens demand that the city council, each person on the council be paid $10million each year.
      Why not Mike? Edmonds can afford it, you’ve been collecting PROPERTY TAXES for the entire flipping year.
      I just hope we don’t run into each other out in the world cause people like you seem to believe that “words” can constitute “hate”

  2. Please, never implement anything King County or Seattle has ever done. Do the exact opposite if you want your city to flourish. Why not $40 an hour while you are at it. Insanity has crossed the county line.

      1. Implementing hazard pay has lost jobs here in Seattle..stores have closed leaving employees with NO pay..stupid fools..helps no-one in the end..

    1. I do not feel a pay increase should happen for the employees who have personally Decided not to be vaccinated!!!! I know a few who have opted out that work in deli’s, meat departments and cashiers!

  3. What a sham! Mayor Nelson should start by explaining how this makes all of us safer, when in fact his ridiculous proposal does nothing to reduce the spread of this hateful disease. This foolish idea not only punishes businesses, but consumers because his proposed pay increase will result in higher prices.
    Mayor Nelson is tone deaf when it comes to fair play. Let’s have a relevant discussion on who the real front line workers are: Hospitals, police and Emergency Workers. Why does his proposal abandon those workers? Mayor Nelson should resign for advancing such a foolish and non-inclusive proposal.

  4. This proposed action seems like a moot point based on where we are with COVID – vaccines are now available to more people so more people are getting vaccinated, death from COVID is steadily declining, etc.

    Before the city forces by ordinance private companies to pay its private workforce more money, I do hope the Council seriously looks at how doing so would benefit Edmonds.

    Some questions I would ask the Mayor: Are grocery workers quitting over COVID? With the vaccine now available to many in our area, isn’t there less risk? Why would giving them $4 more/hour help? How does paying someone more money keep them safe? If safety is your goal, why not force all grocery stores in Edmonds to pay their employees more? What about gas stations? Aren’t they essential workers?

    Speak up Edmonds! This item is on the Council’s agenda for this Tuesday, April 6.

    If you have something to say about this, speak during the Audience Comments, before April 6 call or email the Mayor’s assistant, Carolyn Lafave – or call 425-771-0248 to leave a message for Mayor Nelson. Email the Council –

    Let’s help our Council make the decision to pass this or vote it down.

  5. I Really regret voting for this guy. He does not have a clue. About anything. I was done with Earling trying ramrod the ‘connector’ down our throats and Mikey sold himself well enough that I bought it. The issue really is how do we really know that a Candidate’s campaign platform is not just a facade to get into an office? We don’t. The nice little Edmonds that drew me here is fading fast. It will happen and the people can either accept it or move on. Our voices do not matter. I will live here long enough to vote Mikey out but the next one will probably not be any better. Hopefully I will be out of here before the waterfront becomes a Developers playground.

  6. You got it Glen!

    Another great progressive idea. Then the people of Edmonds that have been out of a job will pay more for their groceries !

    Is defunding the police coming next? Are we trying to be like Seattle? Yikes!

  7. How ’bout the Grocery Workers unions fight this battle and the Mayor butt out of what is essentially none of his or most of his constituents’ business. Get back to the important business of tree laws, tree police and turning downtown into a permanent walking mall with no parking or provision for old or handicapped folks to get to the businesses they love to support. Keep those young folks, walkers and bikers flocking to the taverns and restaurants.

  8. So, how about Edmonds use the downtown streets for vaccine events? One way, cars, and getting all those essential and other folks a shot in the arm? That will or would do more for protecting all those folks more than giving hazard pay at this point. Might even remove the hazard. But, of course, it isn’t grandstanding Mayor Mike’s money he’s playing with. There is a problem with vaccine availability locally right now. How about working ( yep actually working) to getting everyone who wants a shot a shot? More useful than the walkable closures, and would contribute to our safety.
    By the way, QFC, Safeway, Bartells, and those other employers mayor Mike wants to impose this on are all providing vaccines. Mayor Mike is not about public safety. Hazard pay doesn’t make anyone safer. Essential workers have been doing their jobs since the beginning. ( and a huge thank you) Bet they would rather just actually be safer since relatively few of them would see that $4 and hour anyway.

  9. In all honesty the citizens of Edmonds should all get hazard pay living under your leadership!!!!

    Mike, your feel good politics do absolutely nothing with solving the issues that face our city. You make decisions on what will make you look good to your far-left progressive base. You are not here to lead our city and make it better. You are using Edmonds as a springboard for a higher position in state or national government. It’s so obvious. Please move on and save us from your laughable agenda. Have you ever done anything from a leadership perspective that has actually helped Edmonds?

  10. As someone who has worked in grocery store retail my whole adult life I can tell you this is a joke, a farce. It does nothing to help with employee retention. In fact forcing this on “big box retail” is just going to result in these corporations closing our local stores due to low/under performance. Becuase we are already a small community these stores will just consolidate and make it even more difficult for our elderly and lower income shoppers to get food easily. Again driving away a whole community of people Edmonds politicians claim to be looking out for with thier policies.

  11. Another bad Seattle idea from Mayor Nelson. Grocery workers have been stellar during Covid. Many have already been provided hazard pay by there employers. They have unions who have negotiated contracts know as collective bargaining agreements which our former Union president Mayor should know all about. (See Seattle SEIU). Now the Mayor wants government to re-write the CBA contracts between unions and store owners thereby depriving owners of their contact rights. Contracts are a form of property under our laws and government taking of property without just compensation is an unconstitutional act. If the Edmonds City Council acts to make Mayor Nelson’s wish law they will expose the City to potential liability for the taking of employers contact rights. If this was such a great idea why not do it for police and firefighters who have also been in the front lines of Covid battle? Oh ya, that would require using taxpayer money, not private property.

  12. Why are folks so emotionally (negatively) invested in and triggered by the idea of increasing the wages of anyone? Settle down. More money for wage earners is a good thing for people and the economy. All else is myth and hyperbole.

    1. Becuase wages are the largest most easily controllable expense in any business. I was a manager at a grocery store. Anytime wages went up or sales went down so did hours. Less hours to give means less employees working or hired. Means less employees making money and spending money. That is not myth or hyperbole its fact.

    2. Ramona.

      In the real world someone has to pay for those higher wages. They do not just appear out of thin air like stimulus checks or an app on your iPhone. It is a fact that when wages increase so do the cost of goods to pay for those wages. Higher wages means higher food costs which effects everyone, even the unemployed or family that is struggling to put food on the table. It’s simple economics.

      The point here is that many people are putting themselves at risk working in the public, not just grocery store clerks. Many of the people working in this industry qualified for stimulus checks so in a sense they already got their hazard pay. If a company like PCC wants to give their employees an extra $4 an hour that is their choice. But you cannot mandate an industry give all employees an extra $4 an hour. Mayor Nelson does not have the authority to do this, just like the gun law he tried to pass in Edmonds that was shot down in court.

      In reality, what Mayor Nelson is doing is pandering to a certain voting block acting like he is the savior of the laborer when in reality he could care less about them. He knows without a doubt that he cannot pass this type of law in the city of Edmonds. It’s pandering and it’s pathetic!!!

  13. But that this was an April Fool’s joke.

    Nelson & Co. are so cringeworthy and yet they seem to be the tail wagging the dog.

    Also deeply cringeworthy is I voted for him.

    My apologies to all.

  14. Sorry but no. I worked in grocery management. It is not so fragile that a temporary rate increase is going to affect it in the ways being suggested as “fact”. It absolutely is hyperbole. No one is going to lose their ability to feed their family because grocery employees get a temporary wage increase. To suggest so is a bullying tactic. If a store closes because of such a policy it was either grossly mismanaged and deserves to fail, or incredibly greedy and deserves to lose customers. But working people do not deserve to be told that they do not deserve a higher wage just because some people don’t want to pay for food or service. That is slaveowner script. You can all pat yourselves on the back for your big shot talk though. Hope it is worth it to you. Personally, I think it is good to pay people, who work for my benefit, more. Thank you Edmonds Grocery Workers. I hope you get your hazard pay even if some of our neighbors don’t want you to.

    1. Ramona, you’re suggesting that we pay raise to workers who our most honorable and upright Governor allowed keep their jobs. Lots of people who lost their jobs can’t afford to pay those who didn’t lose their jobs more money.

      Grocery Store workers weren’t in any more danger than anyone else:

      I deployed to a theater that was exposed to anthrax. We had to wear full MOP gear in the desert. My hazard duty pay was no where near $4/hr.

    2. We could argued the virtues of paying people more all day. There are both good and bad points to each argument.

      The main issue here is that It is not the Mayors responsibility or jurisdiction to do this. He knows this. All he is doing is pandering to a certain voting block. It’s political fodder. Instead Mayor Nelson needs to be focusing on running our city and making sure we are using the resources in a manner that benefits all who live here. He has a bad habit of playing politics with hot topics like the Chief of Police situation. Look where that got us.

      In the end if the unions who represent the grocery store employees feel they should get hazard pay then they will negotiate that with the major grocery store chains. If Mayor Nelson is so passionate about this cause then maybe he should reach out to the unions who represent these workers instead of doing a feel good, look how great I am article in MEN.

  15. Ramona

    QFC to close two Seattle locations Wedgewood and Capital Hill, blames city’s grocery worker hazard pay ordinance Sorry but it is base on fact and not fiction.

  16. Grocery stores operate on a very small margin of profit. I find it difficut to understand why a mayor would be involved with the pay of local workers. That is not the role of a mayor nor in his line of expertise.

  17. As the QFC cashier who has the least seniority, it is MY hours that will be cut if Edmonds City Council decrees hazard pay. I get the shifts left over after everyone else gets first pick. Every one is all “rah rah” about increased pay. But the company will reduce hours to make up for the arbitrarily decreed increased pay. I am the one who will still have to pay my union dues no matter how few hours I get. And if I don’t get enough hours, I don’t qualify for the union to pay my healthcare premiums so they will come out of my pocket as well. Edmonds City Council and Mayor Mike Nelson need to focus on their own jobs and leave mine alone.

    1. Tracie, thank you for your first-hand insight on this. I would strongly encourage you to make this statement to the Mayor and Council before their meeting tonight. You can reach all council members at The phrase “nothing about us without us” is applicable here, and you are the “us” they need to be working with.

  18. Too bad that Nelson and many of the City Council members are Wokie Virtue Signalers….Their time is better spent filling a few potholes!

    1. Mayor wokeness, late to the party again. We’re did slave owner come into this picture? Ramona, sounds racist to me.

      1. Scott, I totally missed that she referred to people critical of this as slave-owners. Pretty left field. I don’t even buy white bread for crying out loud. 🙂

  19. I’m reading that grocers are shuttering and the hazard pay scheme is half the reason for many. Margins on food are already razor thin. Chicken, corn, prices are exploding. Labor shortages are stoked by stimulus checks. Inflation will steal our saving and we will need to export our food in order to pay for government. Didnt I warn about this a couple years ago?

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