UFCW 21 celebrates victory on $4/hour hazard pay in Seattle

Help the union fight for grocery workers’ hazard pay in YOUR city!


The following is from UFCW 21:

SEATTLE (Jan. 26, 2021) — During the COVID pandemic, grocery store operators have reaped billions of dollars in windfall profits as a direct result of the shift to at-home meal preparation but have failed to compensate workers for the added risks and burdens of working on the frontline during the pandemic. The pandemic has steadily gotten worse while grocery workers have not received hazard pay in more than six months.

On Monday, thanks to the hard work, testimony, and actions of UFCW 21 members, we won $4/hour hazard pay for workers in grocery stores with 500 or more employees throughout Seattle. Thanks to Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda for her leadership in bringing forward this ordinance, the more than 800 UFCW 21 members and allies who contacted Seattle City Council in support of this ordinance, as well as all the members and community allies who testified before the Seattle City Council in favor of Hazard Pay by sharing their heartfelt stories and fears.

Effective date pending signature from the Mayor is February 3, 2021.

“I am grateful the council recognized the risks grocery store workers face during this extraordinary crisis,” said Maggie Breshears, who works at the Greenwood Fred Meyer. “Thank you to our communities for hearing our stories and helping us get our voices out. Now, thanks to our hard work together, Seattle has won hazard pay for essential front line grocery store workers. This is a victory for Seattle workers, and I hope other cities follow Seattle’s lead.”

TAKE A STAND Click here to get involved and help support hazard pay in your city.

“Hazard pay is recognition that we are still risking our health and our lives to ensure people are able to eat,” said Tori Nakamatsu-Figaroa, who works at Uptown Metropolitan Market. “Throughout this whole pandemic, we’ve been a front line and I can see burnout happening in real time. I’ve come to work already crying, already shaking with anxiety over having to deal with unmasked customers and bus patrons on top of the taxing work. Everyone I talk to is at their wit’s end. If these pandemic conditions are to continue as the virus mutates, we deserve hazard pay. We’ve deserved it for a long time.”

UFCW 21’s hard work in passing this ordinance builds on the hard work the union has done to pass Initiative 1433 statewide paid sick leave in 2016, to pass Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave in 2017, to pass uninterrupted meal/rest breaks and closing the mandatory overtime loophole for healthcare workers in Washington in 2019, and raising the state’s minimum wage.

UFCW 21 is the largest private-sector union in Washington with more than 46,000 members working in grocery stores, retail, health care, cannabis and other industry jobs. UFCW 21 is a chartered member of UFCW International with over 1.4 million workers in North America. Learn more at UFCW21.org.

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