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Palm Springs City Council approves ordinance requiring hero pay for grocery workers

12-07 grocery store outbreaks

A grocery clerk at the Stater Brother's in Palm Springs carried a spray bottle while rounding up shopping carts.

It's just one change happening at stores while Covid-19 remains a concern.

One shopper we spoke with is among those supporting the extra pay for that employee and others. 

Workers at the larger, national chain stores are receiving immediate pay increases of $4 an hour. 

"I was doing a little Instacart last year and I had to deal with a lot of people in supermarkets.  Poor things, they were working their butts off," said Palm Springs resident Fabiana Spinelli.

The Palm Springs City Council unanimously passed the new hero pay ordinance Thursday night after discussion. 

"We are rapidly moving toward being a city that is only for the wealthy," said Council Member Grace Garner. 

The temporary wage hike impacts 9 stores in the city, including national chain stores like Albertsons, Ralphs and Walmart. 

Jensens' is exempt because they started paying a hero pay bonus of two dollars an hour to employees beginning in March 2020.

At least 15 other California cities have also passed hero pay ordinances including the city of Coachella.

Some grocery chain owners and their representatives have spoken against hero pay, saying it's a financial burden.

A handful of grocery stores in Southern California have closed  after local government passed similar ordinances.

"There are so many frontline essential workers, who interact with the public inside a business, all day in close quarters, not being able to social distance," said Council Member Geoff Kors. 

Kors tells us the city of Palm Springs will receive 11 to 12 million dollars from the recently passed "American Rescue Plan Act".

He says some of that money could be set aside to provide wage bonuses to restaurant workers in the city, who are also at increased risk for exposure to Covid-19, 

News Channel 3 requested comments from representatives for Ralph's, Albertsons, and Jensen's.

We have not yet received replies to our requests. 

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Tom Tucker


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