LOS ANGELES - Trader Joe's is raising its workers' pay by an additional $2 an hour during the coronavirus pandemic, as Los Angeles weighs an ordinance that would mandate an extra $5 an hour for many workers at large grocery stores and pharmacies.
The raise follows a similar $2-an-hour bump that the Monrovia-based company began offering last year.
"Since the beginning of the pandemic, Trader Joe's has provided all hourly crew members with an additional $2/hr 'thank you' wage, in recognition of the outstanding, inspiring work they do every day, in our stores and communities," the company announced on its website.
Effective Feb. 1, "the 'thank you' premium for all hourly, non-management crew members, was increased by $2, for a total of $4 an hour. Moreover, during this time, we have offered crew members a few additional ways to qualify for and maintain health insurance. We want crew members to have the opportunity to take extended time off without repercussions to their benefits."
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to move forward with a proposed emergency ordinance that would require grocery and pharmacy retailers with 300 or more employees nationally and 10 or more employees on site to add the $5 hazard pay to all hourly, non-managerial employees' wages for 120 days.
The council directed the city attorney to prepare the ordinance and the chief legislative analyst to report on potential economic impacts of the measure and potential legal challenges.
The city of Long Beach recently enacted an emergency ordinance for $4 per hour in hazard pay, but it was challenged in court by the California Grocers Association. A hearing is scheduled on Feb. 19.
The Kroger Co. announced Monday that it will be shuttering two of its stores in Long Beach -- a Ralphs location and a Food4Less store -- in response to that city's hazard pay ordinance. The United Food and Commercial Workers union blasted Kroger's decision as an attack on workers.