The following is from UFCW 367:
OLYMPIA (April 19, 2021) — Thanks to the hard work, testimonies and actions of union grocery workers and their community, the Olympia City Council unanimously passed an ordinance requiring grocery stores to pay $4/hour hazard pay.
The council members called out the grocery businesses’ “record-breaking profits during this pandemic” in their ordinance, adding that these “profits are in part due to the efforts of the grocery employees… working despite a lethal pandemic and above-average susceptibility and risk of exposure to COVID-19 in their workplace.” The council members also heard the many concerns and fears from grocery workers and added additional safety measures to their ordinance.
“It’s been a long time coming!” said UFCW 367 member Ella Hammer (pictured at right), who works at the Olympia Safeway. “We have worked all through this pandemic. I am so grateful to be part of this union!”
The intent by the Olympia City Council is stated as:
“… to pass regulations that promote public health, safety, and welfare during the COVID‐19 public health emergency by requiring grocery businesses to provide hazard pay for qualifying grocery employees performing work in the City of Olympia, thereby increasing retention of employees who provide essential services on the frontlines of a global pandemic and paying additional compensation to those employees for the hazards of working with significant exposure to an infectious disease. Grocery employees are essential and necessary workers to protect the public health because their work sustains access to groceries. Hazard pay is one step to recognize the dangers facing these employees as they support the Olympia community and to encourage grocery workers to continue their vital work, and provide them with additional financial resources.”
UFCW 367 thanked the Olympia City Council for bringing much-needed relief and justice to essential grocery workers.
“These grocery workers are vital to our communities and they deserve a safe workplace and fair pay for the risks and stress they experience daily due to COVID-19,” said UFCW 367 President Angel Gonzalez. “Their heartfelt stories are what moved the city of Olympia to take action. Together we have made our voices heard and created change in our community. We will continue to fight to raise standards for all workers.”
UFCW 367 has more than 8,000 members in grocery and retail in Pierce, Mason, Thurston, Grays Harbor, Pacific and Lewis Counties. UFCW Local 367 is part of UFCW International, the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.