Trader Joe’s Adds $2 Per Hour in COVID-19 `Hazard Pay’ For Workers

Trader Joe’s is raising its workers’ pay by an additional $2 an hour during the coronavirus pandemic, as Los Angeles and West Hollywood weigh ordinances that would mandate an extra $5 an hour for many workers at large grocery stores and pharmacies.

The raise follows a similar $2-an-hour bump that the Monrovia-based company began offering last year.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, Trader Joe’s has provided all hourly crew members with an additional $2 per hour `thank you’ wage, in recognition of the outstanding, inspiring work they do every day, in our stores and communities,” the company announced on its website.

Effective Feb. 1, “the `thank you’ premium for all hourly, non- management crew members, was increased by $2, for a total of $4 an hour. Moreover, during this time, we have offered crew members a few additional ways to qualify for and maintain health insurance. We want crew members to have the opportunity to take extended time off without repercussions to their benefits.”

Trader Joes operates two grocery stores within the West Hollywood city-limits – 7301 Santa Monica Blvd. and 8611 Santa Monica Blvd. The company also has a store mere feet from the WeHo border at 8000 Sunset Blvd, plus three other locations in the WeHo vicinity.  

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to move forward with a proposed emergency ordinance that would require grocery and pharmacy retailers with 300 or more employees nationally and 10 or more employees on site to add the $5 hazard pay to all hourly, non-managerial employees’ wages for 120 days.

The West Hollywood City Council also instructed its attorney to bring back a similar $5 per hour “hero pay” ordinance which it will likely consider at its Feb. 16 meeting.

The city of Long Beach recently enacted an emergency ordinance for $4 per hour in hazard pay, but it was challenged in court by the California Grocers Association. A hearing is scheduled on Feb. 19.

The Kroger Co. announced Monday that it will be shuttering two of its stores in Long Beach — a Ralphs location and a Food 4 Less store — in response to that city’s hazard pay ordinance. The United Food and Commercial Workers union blasted Kroger’s decision as an attack on workers.

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