Council Legislation

Proposed Ordinance No. 2021-30s

Title: An Ordinance of the Pierce County Council Establishing a Hazard Pay Requirement for Additional Compensation for Grocery Employees Working in Pierce County; and Setting an Expiration Date.

Status: Passed

Sponsors: Councilmembers Jani Hitchen, Ryan Mello

Final votes

May 4, 2021
Nay Nay Nay Aye Aye Aye Aye

Additional legislative records are available below Collapse All  Expand All

Public Comments

Name Date Comment
Derek Chiasson 4/24/21 12:54 AM There are several reasons to reject this legislation. 1) even according to the CDC, there is a ~99.9% survival rate from COVID. It is not hazardous to deal with the public right now, nor has it been at any point during COVID. I know multiple people who work at local grocery stores and none of them are remotely concerned about COVID. 2) If it is to be considered hazardous to work in public, why limit this to grocery store workers? Why not all retail outlets? All restaurants? All hair salons? 3) Anyone with a basic understanding of economics knows what happens when you artificially force wages up. You either see increased consumer prices (which will be even worse since so many people have lost their jobs) or a loss of jobs/hours. You won't magically make grocery store workers earn extra money while having no negative downstream effects. 4) The alternative to #3 is what we saw in Seattle when they did this and QFC closed two of their lower-performing stores, costing 109 people their jobs. The COVID hysteria is over. People don't care anymore. Quit trying to gin up fear over this by passing legislation declaring it a hazard to interact with other human beings.
Elizabeth Scott 4/29/21 1:59 PM I strong urge you to pass the ordinance for hazard pay for grocery employees in Pierce County. As you know, this has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone, but throughout it all, grocery employees have shown up so that we all do not go without. They first were not protected by adequate PPE, then by people who couldn't be bothered with wearing masks and social distancing and until recently were not given priority for vaccines. As many testified, the public has become more aggressive and their jobs are made more dangerous not just from the possibility of catching COVID but from violence by customers. In the early days of the pandemic I had a friend who was spit on by a customer in Fred Meyer because she asked him politely to step back a bit since he was standing inches behind her. These workers have had to deal with children out of school and lack of affordable child care while still trying to do their jobs and not having the luxury of working from home. At the same time their employers are making more money than every. Please pass this ordinance. Thank you.
Russell Parks 4/30/21 4:16 AM I believe that the folks working the front lines during this pandemic should receive hazard pay. These large corporations are making enough during these times to pay the folks making these profits possible by giving them more money. I support hazard pay for essential workers in our grocery stores.
Dr. James H. Williams 5/3/21 2:01 PM It is high time we recognized the risks to those who have labored to keep us going during the panemic. It is our moral obligation.
Heather Herness 5/4/21 1:05 PM Hello, my name is Heather- a Safeway grocer. Thank you, council members for hearing us. I want to give you a glimpse into what it has been like working on the front lines as well as what this hazard pay would mean to us. Each department faces its own set of challenges. Areas like Deli, Starbucks, and Floral- they have limited space meaning they are unable to properly distance. Helper clerks and Courtesy clerks are often directly assisting customers, handling sanitation protocols, and cleaning public bathrooms. Checkers are getting the brunt of the customer belittling Online shoppers, like myself are entering customers cars for curbside pickup, and constantly on the floor intertwined with the customers. There is no space free of risk. Corporate and Sr. Staff express that continuing with the strict CDC sanitation protocols, is a waste of time. Adequate PPE is no longer readily available to us, forcing us to search for it or provide it ourselves. We watch coworkers and manager eat unmasked on the sales floor, lick their fingers to open bags, and not follow other social distancing guides. They are failing their duty to protect us and directly contributing to unnecessary daily risks. Council members what I want you to know most is that we do not see this as a raise but temporary assistance. Many of us are making literal penny’s more than what is allowable to get current pandemic benefits. We leave our jobs and go to food banks to keep our family's fed. We are eating the food deemed not good enough for the very customers that infect us, that berate us, yet we serve day in and day out. These funds would allow us to further invest in our own communities. Remember we are not just grocers. We are Community Members, Parents, your constituents, Etc. Please show your support in us by voting in favor of this ordinance.
Matthew O'Connell 5/4/21 2:00 PM This action is completely unnecessary. Grocery workers are no more at risk than department store workers, restaurant employees, solid waste and recycling workers, etc. This circumvents the collective bargaining process that should be occurring between the employers and the unions. This is not something that should be taken up at the local government level. Please oppose.
Amelia Isabel Escobedo 5/4/21 2:15 PM This is an amazing move forward. The grocery workers in District 6 and Pierce County deserve to get hazardous pay during this pandemic. They are risking their family and their lives working to service residents in our communities. Although Lakewood City Manager and Mayor do not believe in this ordinance, I believe that our grocery workers are worth it! I say fire John Caulfield and Mayor Don Anderson! Thank you Jani Hitchen and Ryan Mello for sponsoring this ordinance!!
Tara Doyle-Enneking 5/4/21 2:17 PM Pierce County Executive and Councilmembers, I am writing to you with great concern on the vote today for Ordinance 2021-30s. I understand there has been a ripple effect of cities and counties that have approved similar proposals, and thankfully many that have rejected it as well. The legal ramifications, the potential harm to lower-income populations, and the slippery slope this can create by singling out one industry over another made me think this was not a plausible policy that our county would consider. I was surprised to learn, I was wrong. Unfortunately, this one snuck up on me and I do not have enough time to garner support for multiple testimonies today, but I assure you this is simply not the answer. The recent efforts to vaccinate our community are the right approach. Providing restaurants and small businesses with grants to help them recover their losses is another worthy effort. Burdening employers with this extraordinary wage increase will only result in business owners passing along the cost to their consumers resulting in a greater financial burden to our more vulnerable low-income populations. This reckless policymaking poses so many negative ramifications on Pierce County, a county that is diligently trying to welcome businesses that are leaving King County for precisely these types of egregious decisions. On behalf of the business community in Puyallup and Sumner, I urge you to please oppose this ordinance. Respectfully, Tara Doyle-Enneking CEO Puyallup Sumner Chamber of Commerce
Christopher Michael Escobedo 5/4/21 2:53 PM I support the proposal to pay hazard pay to grocery worker. The Mayor and City Manager are millionaires and are against paying the working class that is putting their lives and families at risk. This Virus has killed over half a Million people, mostly black and brown people.