Changes Possible to Fresno Hazard Pay for Grocery Workers - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
Connect with us


Changes Possible to Fresno Hazard Pay for Grocery Workers



Share with friends

Councilman Luis Chavez is working on a compromise for his hazard pay ordinance for grocery store workers within the city of Fresno.

The legislation is set to return to the council for a final vote on April 8. Chavez’ ordinance would mandate an extra $3 an hour for most grocery store workers in the city.

While most of Chavez’s council colleagues seemed agreeable, Mayor Jerry Dyer cast his doubts, saying the legislation “crossed a line.”

Chavez said he has been speaking with the California Grocers Association.

“We’re working through the language,” Chavez said. “I’m pragmatic. We want to make sure that we work with all stakeholders. This is not just about money.”

The new language could give grocery store owners the option of the hourly premium or increased health benefits.

“A lot of these grocery store employees were infected from COVID and now are what’s called long termers. They still have ongoing medical symptoms and causes,” Chavez said.

Grocery Association Files Lawsuits

Last week, CGA filed two lawsuits against a pair of Bay Area cities that have imposed similar hazard pay ordinances— San Jose and Daly City. The group also has lawsuits pending in other jurisdictions. In a previous interview, CGA said it could file legal action against Fresno.

“In addition to clearly violating federal and state law, the extra pay mandates will harm customers and workers,” Ron Fong, president and CEO of the CGA said in a news release.

The industry group cites a study it commissioned showing that a $5 an hour raise would cost a family of four $400 more in grocery bills.

CGA did not have a comment about specific negotiations with Chavez.

Union: Closing Stores a “Red Herring”

Several grocery stores in Southern California announced they would close underperforming locations in areas where premium mandates have been approved.

Last week, Kroger, Inc. announced it would shut down three stores in the Los Angeles area. This is in addition to two stores it said it would close in Long Beach.

The head of the grocery worker union in Fresno has doubts a similar move could happen here.

“As long as thoughtful analysis is given to how to recognize the sacrifice of essential workers, the threat of layoffs is a red herring,” Jacques Loveall, president of the UFCW Local 8 in Fresno said.

Loveall supports a hazard pay premium.

“It is nerve-wracking for food workers and their shop representatives. We couldn’t be prouder of their contribution to the community and selfless attitudes they display in their service,” Loveall said. “If the proposal is structured properly workers, the community and fair-minded employers will all benefit.”

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email