King County Council weighs hazard pay for grocery workers

The King County Council could vote as soon as Wednesday (March 3) on a law requiring grocery stores to pay workers $4 more an hour in unincorporated areas of the county

The hazard pay would remain in effect until County Executive Dow Constantine ends the Covid-19 emergency declaration. 

"For the last year I have visited with, and thanked the checkers, stockers, butchers and deli workers at the grocery stores I shop. I have seen and heard their fatigue, and also their courage and dedication to their customers," said Councilmember Rod Dembowski, who drafted the legislation. "These extraordinary times call for governments like King County to respond with extraordinary help."

The law is similar to measures recently passed in Burien and Seattle, which prompted swift backlash from grocery chains. 

Kroger-owned QFC said it is closing two underperforming stores in Seattle largely due to the council's hazard pay law. Labor unions blasted QFC's announcement, calling it "retaliation" against policies designed to help frontline workers. 

RELATED: Seattle approves extra $4 an hour 'hazard pay' for grocery workers

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