Kroger Will Close Two California Stores to Avoid Paying Workers Extra $4 an Hour for Working During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Kroger is closing two stores in California rather than pay grocery workers an extra four dollars an hour for working at the nation’s largest supermarket chain during the coronavirus pandemic. The company blamed a decision by local officials who recently approved a temporary wage increase for some supermarket employees.

Kroger said it will close the stores, a Ralphs and a Food 4 Less, in April because of the law, passed in January by the Long Beach city council. With a handful of cities across California weighing whether to mandate “hazard pay” for grocery workers, Kroger also warned that it could shut more stores.

Long Beach last month became the first city in California to approve a hazard pay ordinance, with the law requiring grocery stores with at least 300 workers nationwide and more than 15 employees within Long Beach to pay an extra $4 an hour for a 120-day period.

Kroger is closing two stores in California rather than pay grocery workers an extra four dollars an hour for working at the nation’s largest supermarket chain during the coronavirus pandemic. The company blamed a decision by local officials who recently approved a temporary wage increase for some supermarket employees.

Kroger said it will close the stores, a Ralphs and a Food 4 Less, in April because of the law, passed in January by the Long Beach city council. With a handful of cities across California weighing whether to mandate “hazard pay” for grocery workers, Kroger also warned that it could shut more stores.

Long Beach last month became the first city in California to approve a hazard pay ordinance, with the law requiring grocery stores with at least 300 workers nationwide and more than 15 employees within Long Beach to pay an extra $4 an hour for a 120-day period.

“The city of Long Beach has learned that Kroger decided to close two Long Beach stores based on business needs; it is the city’s understanding that the two stores were identified by their owners as long-struggling. Kroger’s decision is unfortunate for workers, shoppers and the company,” the city said Tuesday in an emailed statement.

Kroger called the city’s decision to hike emergency pay “misguided.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: CBS News, Kate Gibson