After Los Angeles City Council voted to pass the Hazardous Living Conditions Support Act, the bill requires large corporations to pay an additional $ 5 an hour for essential frontline workers, and Kroger will close three Los Angeles stores.
According to an initial CNN report, store closings, one at Ralphs and the other two at Food 4 Less, will result in the layoff of 250 employees. The company will strive to redeploy employees within companies affected by the store closures.
This isn’t the first time Kroger has been required to pay employees a basic risk wage to close a store. According to insider reports, Kroger closed two QFC stores in Seattle last month after an anti-pay law was enforced in Seattle, requiring essential workers to pay an additional $ 4 an hour. Kruger closed his store in Long Beach, California after the ban on “Dangerous Life Benefits” went into effect in February.
In a statement to Insiders, Kroger said, “City officials must believe that supermarkets are highly profitable during a pandemic.” “The mandatory extra payments make it impossible to continue to operate under-performing stores.” Positions in the company.
Critics point out that Kroger’s profits come from the country’s largest supermarket chain, which continues to lay off workers during the pandemic.
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“This company made a profit of $ 2.6 billion in the last year alone. Some people won the pandemic and lost the most. It is clear that Kroger has won and now has the goal of sharing huge profits with employees. instead of choosing to destroy the center. ”Life said John Grant, president of the union representing the supermarket and pharmacy workers, 250 families.
“This has nothing to do with the dangerous benefits of life. It’s about society taking over large corporations because they benefit from thousands of injuries and deaths,” added Grant.
This is not a business decision. This is pure greed. This is Kroger’s message to its employees that asking for a fair share will not only reduce their labor costs but also the cost of buying food in the community. “Said Michael Seeler, Executive Director and Director of the United Economic Justice Organization for Religious and Scholars. We are still in the midst of a global pandemic. We need to take care of those who provide for us rather than take people’s livelihoods away.” . ”
According to the International Confederation of Food and Commercial Workers (UFAT), in the United States, 134 grocery workers have died from COVID-19 and 28,700 grocery workers have been infected or exposed to the coronavirus. Virus.
Kroger is not the only company unable to pay wages due to the dangerous living conditions of the primary workers. Amazon-owned Whole Foods stopped paying employees an additional $ 2 an hour in June. The employees asked the retail chain to take back the risk-reward.