Retail chain Kroger closed two California stores Saturday after Long Beach City approved a coronavirus “hero pay” ordinance.
Hero pay ordinances bump pay for workers in retail stores and pharmacies with 300 or more workers due to the hazards of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Long Beach, eligible workers have seen a $4 per hour increase in their wages.
Democratic Mayor Robert Garcia approved the ordinance in January. Other cities in California have taken similar measures, with Los Angeles approving “hero pay” in March at $5 an hour.
In response, Kroger started to close stores in cities where “hero pay” ordinances exist. The retail chain first announced intentions to close two Long Beach locations in February, stirring protests from workers and union members.
The mayor has threatened to sue Kroger over the Long Beach closures, though it’s not clear on what grounds he would do so.
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