Written by Edward Smith
The Fresno City Council on Thursday continued a modified proposal to require grocery stores to provide additional pay or benefits to workers.
It’s the second time the council has pushed the decision to a later date.
The act sponsored by Fresno City Council President Luis Chavez requires grocery stores to provide workers for the next 120 days either health care benefits or an additional $3 an hour to compensate workers for risks working during Covid.
“Grocery workers face magnified risks of catching or spreading COVID-19 because the nature of their work involves close contact with the public, including members of the public who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 but who can spread the disease,” the staff report reads.
The ordinance would apply to grocery stores with 500 employees or more across the corporation, whether it be corporately-run or a franchise.
The group Californians for a Safe and Rapid Recovery say they delivered a petition of 175 signatures from Fresno residents in opposition to the pay mandate.
“This government mandate will put Fresno businesses at a disadvantage to our neighbors,” said Scott Miller, president and CEO of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce. “Now is not the time to jeopardize economic recovery and put more families out of work.”
Other cities have implemented similar measures. In response to a measure approved by Long Beach City Council increasing pay by $4 for grocery store workers, Kroger Co. announced in February it would close a Ralphs market and a Food 4 Less in April, according to the Associated Press.